The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army Exhibition at the ROM – Full Details

News of this exhibit has been leaking out in bits and pieces for weeks. But today the official announcement of it was made and full details have been released.

The exhibit will be hitting the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto Canada starting in late June. The precise exhibition start/end dates are being arranged.

As reported earlier the exhibit will be stopping at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and the Royal BC Museum in Victoria BC. A stop in Montreal was announced several months back.

Also, as hk previously reported, this will be the biggest Terracotta Warriors exhibition ever to hit North America. We now know that it will include about 250 artefacts in total.

Now for the new info:

There will be 16 human terracotta figures coming to Toronto.These will include two generals (one of which is pictured here), an acrobat, a cavalryman, a charioteer and a mix of armoured soldiers, archers and lower ranking officers.

Generals are, of course, very rare among the warriors and would have commanded the emperors army in the afterlife. Archaeologists are hoping to come across more generals and senior officers in the digs that have just resumed at the terracotta site.

This exhibit will also have some treats for animal lovers. There are going to be two terracotta horses coming to Toronto. Horses played an important role in the first emperors army, being used for cavalry and the all-important chariots.

There is also going to be wait for it a terracotta dog! Albeit one that dates to the Han Period, after the Emperor Qin Shi Huang andhis warriors were already buried.

The exhibit is going to go well beyond the tomb of the first emperor. Its going to start with the story of the rise of the Qin Empire. The first section will show how a family – that ruled a small bit of territory on the western frontier of China – came to control the entire country, unifying the land for the first time. Among the treasures that will illustrate this section is a jade pendent worn by the Duke of Qin. He used it 350 years before Emperor Qin came to power.

Among the artefacts in this display will be a war painting that exhibit curator Dr. Chen Shen says is the is the oldest Chinese war-painting discovered so far. It dates to the 3rd century BC. Unfortunately a picture of it isnt available for release. If this is the oldest war painting in China its pretty remarkable that it was created at such a late time.

War reliefs can be found at much earlier dates in Mesopotamia and Egypt. In fact one of the earliest art examples in Egypt shows King Narmer about to beat an enemy with a mace! Although I suppose that wouldnt qualify as a painting.

The exhibit is also going to show terracotta figurines from before and after the time of the famous warriors. Human figurines were not new when the Qin emperor came to power. What the Qin emperor did was blow them up to life size and mass produce them in a way that meant that no two look alike.

No one in China would ever attempt this again. After the emperors death terracotta figures reverted to smaller sizes.

The Han figurines (produced after the Qin emperors death) will show the aforementioned terracotta dog and other animals including pigs, chickens, sheep and goats. There will also be multi-coloured warriors and terracotta ladies.

It should be noted that the Han Dynasty is detached from the Qin. After Qin Shi Huangs death his empire disintegrated and man named Liu Bang (Emperor Gaozu) came to power. He was born a peasant and there is a story that his revolt against the Qin started when his conscripted workers deserted him while heading to work on the first emperors tomb.