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Research on the Techniques of Making Pottery Figurines of the Qin Army

  • H.J. Qu (a1), Z.H. Cheng (a2) and Xiao Jie Wu (a3)


A description of the excavations of the Qin pottery army is given first. Analyses of the raw materials are reported. The construction techniques of the soldiers and horses are detailed separately. Lastly, analysis and reconstruction of the firing technology and post-fire paints are presented.



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1. Some of the data in this article appears at the Xian Museum and part was published in Chinese, as Qu, H.J., Cheng, Z.H. and Wu, X.J., “Research on the Techniques in Making Pottery Figurines of Qin Army,” A Collection of Essays on Chinese Ancient Ceramic Studies, P.R. China, December 1982. Donna Straham and Jia-Sun Tsang translated the article into English.
2. Historic Relics Unearthed in New China, Foreign Language Press, Peking, 1972, no. 81; Smithsonian Magazine, Feb. 1975 and Nov. 1979; Edmund Capon, Qin Shihuang: Terracotta Warriors and Horses, International Cultural Corp. of Australia, Ltd., 1983; and Arthur Cotterell, The First Emperor's Warriors, London, 1987.
3. Huang, Qin Shu Pottery Figures of Warriors and Horses,: A Corpus of Data, No. 1, compiled by the Museum of Qin Shi Huang Pottery Figures of Warriors and Horses, 1980 (in English).
4. Recent finds, about 25 miles away from the corpus described here, have been reported in the China People's Daily. Another, more numerous terracotta army was found 10 March 1990 during road construction about 15 miles north of Xian. The new army protects the tomb of a later Han dynasty emperor, Jingdi, who ruled from 157-141 B.C., about 70 years later than Qin Shihuangdi. The figurines are smaller, about 60 cm tall, but probably far more numerous as 24 vaults or pits were found instead of only 3.
5. The weight of the figurines is about 200-300 lbs., and the horses weigh about 500 lbs.

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Research on the Techniques of Making Pottery Figurines of the Qin Army

  • H.J. Qu (a1), Z.H. Cheng (a2) and Xiao Jie Wu (a3)


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