The guarded tomb of Ying Zheng – also known as Qin Shi Huang Di, the First Emperor or Qin – is one of China’s most famous cultural sites. Discovered outside the city of Xi’an in 1947, the burial ground is surrounded by life-sized clay soldiers poised, as if for battle, guarding the young Emperor’s soul in underground corridors or “vaults”.
The tomb itself remains largely untouched by archaeologists, though ancient accounts suggest it was filled with rivers of mercury, mountains made of bronze and precious gemstones such as pearls. But the warriors themselves, the weapons they were buried with and the horses and bronze chariots that accompanied them, provide an insight into the ancient world of Chinese Emperors. From their clothing to their hairstyles and facial expressions (all of which, incredibly, vary from warrior to warrior), the army is a fascinating representation of ancient traditions, cultural norms, and even the economics of the time.
This September, as part of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, four warriors from the First Emperor’s Terracotta Army will be on display as part of Treasures of China, an exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art, spanning more than 5,000 years of Chinese history. Artefacts made from bronze, jade, gold and enamel will go on show, selected from 11 museums and heritage institutions from across China.
It’s a not-to-missed, rare opportunity to be immersed in the rich heritage of one of the world’s largest countries.
Free. Sep 7-Jan 7. Open Sun-Mon and Wed 10.30am-5.30pm; Thu and Sat noon-8pm; Fri 2pm-8pm. Museum of Islamic Art (4422 4444).