The Emperor's Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China

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9780670035120: The Emperor's Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China
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Lintong County, People's Republic of China, March 1974

Three farmers are digging a well when suddenly their shovels hit something hard. It is a clay head of a mad who stares back at them, open-eyed and amazingly real looking. The farmers have never seen anything like it; neither have the archeologists who arrive and being to uncover more and more pottery men—first dozens, then hundres and eventually thousands! Buried for more than 2,200 years, they are soldiers, life-size as well as life-like, and they stand at attention as if waiting for the command to charge into battle. The only thing missing is their weapons, and soon those are found too—thousands of real bronze swords, daggers, and arrowheads still so sharp they can split a hair.

Now, after almost thirty years of ongoing excavation, a buried army of 7,500 terracotta soldiers and horses has emerged. And this site that three farmers accidentally stumbled upon ranks along with the Great Pyramids in Egypt as one of the true wonders of the ancient world.

The Emperor's Silent Army features more than forty full-color photos that showcase the terracotta troops. A vivid and engaging text tells all about the army as well as the extraordinary story of the men who commanded its creation—the ruthless and tyrannical first emperor of China.

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About the Author:

Jane O'Connor lives in New York City.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-6-When three farmers, digging a well in a field near Xi'an, China, unearthed a pottery head, they were completely unaware of the magnitude of their discovery. As archaeologists began to excavate the site, they found an entire army of life-sized pottery soldiers of every rank, horses, chariots, weapons-an army fit for an emperor. In lively fashion, this handsome book recounts the story of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, who ordered the army's construction to ensure that he remain safe and powerful if his quest for unending life was unsuccessful. As the excellent colorful photographs make clear, none of the soldiers look alike. Their costumes reflect their rank, and their faces probably resemble the people with whom the many potters were acquainted. O'Connor also speculates on the contents of the Emperor's tomb, which at present has not been excavated. Like Caroline Lazo in her somewhat longer book The Terra Cotta Army of Emperor Qin (Macmillan, 1993), O'Connor has done a credible job in telling the story of this important archaeological treasure. An essay about her research process is included, but specific references and footnotes are missing. One can also quibble with some minor points-why, for example, does she refer to these life-sized statues as "figurines," and why does she say nothing about why China has chosen to leave Qin's tomb unexcavated? Still, this book provides an intriguing glimpse at one of China's greatest treasures and at one of its most famous emperors.
Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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