Terracotta army to tour Canada from 2010

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"Glenbow is thrilled to be the prospective fourth partner in this exciting national tour. Pending final approval, Glenbow is eager to expose Alberta audiences to these world renowned Chinese treasures," said Kirstin Evenden, President and CEO of Glenbow Museum.

"The story of China's First Emperor and his Terracotta Army is one of the most captivating in human history," said Pauline Rafferty, CEO of the Royal BC Museum. "We are delighted to bring this phenomenal exhibition to British Columbia to give our visitors this rare opportunity to learn about a fascinating culture and this remarkable archaeological discovery."

The exhibition and the First Emperor

Since 1974, archaeologists have unearthed approximately 2,000 full-sized terracotta warriors and horses from three ancient pits. Located near the First Emperor's mausoleum complex, the terracotta site is only a small component of the largest tomb construction in China.

It is also the location of the country's first on-site museum. As this site continues to be excavated, archaeologists now use innovative conservation techniques to preserve the fragile colors on these painted warriors.

With scores yet to be excavated, the terracotta figures, in magnificent military formations, are now known to number nearly 8, 000, and are often referenced as the eighth wonder of the world. In 1987, the site was added to the official list of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Warrior Emperor and China's Terracotta Army will feature 120 sets of loan objects, encompassing over 250 artifacts, dated to the first millennium BC. Among them are impressive 18 life- sized terracotta sculptures, comprising 16 human figures and two horses.

These figures depict a wide range of military and civic personnel, including generals, armored soldiers, lower ranking officers, archers, an acrobat, a cavalryman, and a charioteer. Also included are six life-sized warrior heads and three half- sized kneeling servants. Each figure is unique, exquisitely executed and accorded a distinct personality.

The exhibition will also include numerous stellar objects making their North American debut. Loaned by more than a dozen of the most important archaeological institutes and museums in Shaanxi Province, nearly 30 percent of the featured objects have never before traveled outside China. As well as highlighting the life and times of Qin Shihuang, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, and the terracotta soldiers produced during his lifetime, the exhibition will explore the figures in a broad historical and social context.

Exhibition visitors will learn about China's rich history during these periods and about the political and social transitions that took place during various dynasties, changes inevitably influencing the form, style and purpose of the terracotta sculptures.

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