Tomb art refers to any work of art forming, or placed in, a repository for the remains of the dead. It plays an important role in Chinese art history. Especially in Qin Dynasty, the special condition of the society made it possible for the emperor to build a tomb with plenty of grave goods. Terracotta Warriors in Qinshihuang’s tomb were discovered in 1974. It is indicated as an outstanding archeological discovery in the 20 century among the world (Man, 2010) in terms of its quantity and quality. The tomb is large in scale. It has four pits that contain more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. (Portal, 2007) At the same time, every figure is extremely detailed crafted but distinct in their characteristics. By comparing the two Terracotta Warrior figures, one can easily know that every figure is distinct in terms of appearance, gesture, even its emotion.
The terracotta warriors make tomb art to reach one of the peaks in the Chinese art history, and the political and cultural environment then makes it possible. Firstly, the terracotta warriors were made during the Qin Dynasty, which is the first dynasty when China is united from six separated small kingdoms. Hence, Qin Dynasty has a powerful and stable economy and political structure. That can provide the emperor, Qin Shihuang, with enough resources to build his tomb. Secondly, in order to deterrent the other countries and his own people from attracting or renegading, in another word, to propaganda, Qin Shihuang had to build a huge underground army to show his power. Last but not least, Qin Shihuang was deeply influenced by Taoism, which believes afterlife. (Man, 2010) So that it is believed that he wanted to use these terracotta warriors to continue to rule the heaven after his death. Hence, he crafted these realistic terracotta warriors.
By comparing the following two figures, one can see how high the Terracotta Warriors’ quality is.
Similarly, both of these two figures are real-sized. Their sizes are exactly the same as real humans. Also, their faces are carefully sculptured. That makes their facial features can be clearly recognized – even the muscles on their cheeks can be seen. Moreover, the textures of their clothes are expressed well although they are wearing different types of clothes made by different type of materials. One can feel the softness of the cotton cloth and the hardness of the armor by just looking at them. In one word, similarly, these two figures look realistic and they are crafted in a very detailed manner.