By Victoria Hart
If buying a plane ticket to China isn’t on your summer “to do” list, then visiting the Terracotta Warriors at the Cincinnati Museum of Art might just be the ticket. Well, at least for people in North America. Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China is on exhibit now through August 12, 2018 at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
A Worthwhile Introduction
The exhibit doesn’t have the impact of seeing 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses like you will when you visit the original site outside the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province, China. But, the 9 life-size terracotta figures, a cavalry horse, and 120 objects drawn from 14 Chinese museums and archaeological institutions do an excellent job of illustrating the evolution and development of the Qin people from a tribe to an empire under the leadership of Ying Zheng (259-210 B.C.), the king of the Qin. More than 40 works in the exhibit have never before been on display in the United States.
The exhibit does more than just inspire history buffs and world travelers to take a trip to China, it also tells the story of the significant contributions made by the Qin dynasty to the civilization of the world.
A Significant 20th Century Discovery
In 1974, a local farmer digging a well outside the city of Xi’an found pottery shards and bronze arrows near the mausoleum of Ying Zheng. This led to the discovery of the terracotta warriors and horses, one of the most significant archaeological finds in the 20th century. The mausoleum was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is considered to be one of the wonders of the world.
Under the leadership of the Qin king, the seven states of China were unified, a standard form of currency was established, a standard form of writing was created, and a system of weights and measures formed. These developments were monumental in the progress of civilization as we know it today.
If You Go
The family guide for this exhibit is well written and engaging. The “guide” to help the younger audience understand the significance of the exhibit is the Emperor at age 13, the year he became king.
Timed tickets for Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China are free for museum members and available for purchase by the general public at the front desk of the museum and online at cincinnatimuseum.org. General adult admission tickets are $16, $8 for college students, seniors (65+) and children (6-17 years.) Free access to the exhibition is available on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. during Art After Dark events on June 29 and July 27. Although the tickets are free during these evening periods, timed tickets are still required.
General admission and parking are always free at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Thursdays 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
All photos by Victoria Hart