Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Terracotta acrobats found in Xi'an

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The latest excavation at the Qin Shihuang mausoleum in Xi’an, the capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, has been underway since 2009. Scientists have recently released the latest findings, secrets that have been buried under the earth for thousands of years.
The pit covers an area of 600 square meters and excavation has been ongoing since last year. Unlike previous discoveries, the finds here are mostly of acrobatic figurines.
Archaeologist Zhang Weixing said, "These terracotta figurines are of the acrobats who performed in the imperial palace. During the Qin Dynasty, these people were called ’Bai Xi’. These terracotta figurines were mortuary objects."
During the Qin Dynasty two thousand years ago, "Bai Xi" artists often gave acrobatic and wrestling performances to the emperor. Revered for their strength, the performers were said to be able to shoulder tremendous weights upon their shoulders.
One stands more than two meters tall and sports a pair of gigantic feet. Scholars say this performer probably served as a sort of base - holding aloft team-mates during their performances. Unfortunately, most of the artifacts have been are badly damaged and some even burned.
Luckily, though, there’s still more to discover. Scientists have unearthed a number of additional and puzzling objects - including a bronze ball and a giant tripod. Archaeologists say that they have never seen such things before. It seems Xi’an continues to offer food for curiosity.

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