Steve Cardownie: Terracotta Army’s first visit to UK was to Edinburgh

Yuan Zhong Yi, the Chinese archaeologist who excavated the Terracotta Army in the City Art Centre with one of the warriors which went on display in 1985. Picture: Ian Brand
Yuan Zhong Yi, the Chinese archaeologist who excavated the Terracotta Army in the City Art Centre with one of the warriors which went on display in 1985. Picture: Ian Brand
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I note that the exhibition of “The Terracotta Army” has opened in Liverpool, which is great news.

Ten warriors will make up the centrepiece with 180 artefacts on display, making it a must see show. Emperor Qin’s Army (which was created to protect him in the afterlife as well as to celebrate the army he led against warring states to unite what we now know as China) took almost 30 years to build even with 700,000 workers.

READ MORE: Scotland gifted replica Terracotta Warriors from China

Each of the 8000 life-size figures have distinctive facial features (which is a lasting testament to the craftsmanship of the artisans) and stand along with 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. Despite press reports and many commentators stating that it has only been seen in the UK once before, at the British Museum in 2007, the first visit of the warriors to these shores was back in 1985 to the City Arts Centre in Edinburgh.

One of Edinburgh’s twin cities is Xian, where the figures were found, and the Chinese authorities enthusiastically agreed that this city should be the first in the UK to showcase what many have described as the eighth wonder of the world.