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Published 04/09/2007 email E-MAIL print PRINT



The exhibition 'The First Emperor' opens on 13 September at the British Museum. This emperor so celebrated in Chinese history was Qin Shichuangdi, famous for unifying China in the third century AD, and for laying the foundations there for future greatness. Close by Xi'an Qin he created a massive mausoleum covering over 28 square miles, of which only small parts have yet been recovered by archaeologists. This was to contain a complete replication of Qin's court. It was to be guarded by up to 10,000 terracotta officers and soldiery (of whom some 1,800 have already been excavated.) All of these are fashioned and crafted individually, including generals who are up to 6ft 5ins tall. Of these, twenty figures have been detached and sent on loan to London, and this consignment includes two horses.

The exhibition was previously on show in Taiwan, where no doubt it served as a reminder to the inhabitants of the former island of Formosa, of the importance of military might, then and now.

Meanwhile the financial magic of the 'army' swells: the British Museum exhibition has already sold over 50,000 advance tickets prior to the opening on 13 September. And with typical Chinese acumen, single soldier figure replicas can now be delivered, for £750 including freight costs, direct to your home.



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