The Terracotta Warriors come to Liverpool
PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:13 07 February 2018
The extraordinary Terracotta Warriors will be marching into Liverpool’s World Museum as part of city wide celebrations
Home to one of the oldest Chinese communities in Europe, there couldn’t have been a more fitting place than Liverpool to welcome back the Terracotta Warriors to the UK. Returning to the country for the first time since 2008, when they were displayed in the British Museum in London, the exhibition of Chinese sculptures is a major part of Liverpool’s 2018 celebrations to mark their tenth anniversary of European Capital of Culture 2008.
Running from February 9 until October 28, the China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition will see more than 180 spectacular artefacts from museums across Shaanxi Province displayed in the city’s World Museum – more than half of which have never been on show in the UK before.
‘This is a tremendous coup, not just for Liverpool, but for the whole of the UK. The city is absolutely the right place for this exhibition, and we are hugely excited to be working with our museum colleagues in China to bring a collection of Warriors and many other significant historical discoveries to the UK,’ said David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool.
‘Liverpool is more than capable of hosting and staging these types of events and this exhibition will be a beautiful illustration of that. We are hoping to achieve record figures, with 450,000 visitors estimated,’ added Fiona Philpot, head of exhibitions and design at National Museums Liverpool. ‘This exhibition in particular has been hand-crafted for us, so it really is one of its kind and a fantastic opportunity for people across Europe to see these figures and artefacts up close.’
‘It’s very special. They don’t even look that old as they have been preserved so well and they are so realistic, you really are looking into the face of ancient Chinese history – it’s remarkable.’
This landmark exhibition spans almost 1,000 years, telling the story of the formative years of the Chinese nation, from the pre-unification Qin Kings to China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, rise to power and the legacy of his achievements in the succeeding Han Dynasty. Visitors will come face to face with the extraordinary Terracotta Warriors, including a life-size terracotta horse, as well as other exquisite objects from the Emperor’s vast burial complex.
Over the last 40 years, archaeologists have uncovered three large pits of life-sized Terracotta Warriors near Xi’an, the ancient capital of China. Each warrior has their own individual clothing, hair and facial features, along with horses and war chariots. The pits were found to the east of the Emperor’s mausoleum, an area which at 56 square kilometres is the biggest known burial site on earth.
Currently, the mausoleum remains unopened but it is estimated there are around 8,000 figures in total, most of which are still to be excavated. The scale and lavishness of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s burial site and the mystery of the mausoleum forms a major component of the exhibition.
‘The tradition of burial practice was continued by the Emperor’s successors in the later Han Dynasty, who constructed vast underground chambers and passageways filled with food and drink, as well as animals and clay servants, examples of which will be included in the exhibition,’ said Dr James Lin from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Dr Lin, an expert in early Chinese material culture, has been appointed by National Museums Liverpool as the exhibition’s guest curator.
‘They contained everything the Emperors would need to ensure they enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle for eternity in their underground palaces. China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors promises to be an extraordinary exhibition, exploring this fascinating pursuit of immortality.’
China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition runs February 9 until October 28. Tickets are priced from £14.50 for adults and £5.50 for children. For further details visit: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/terracottawarriors