(Question from East and West) Tian Jing: Does the sculpture art of terracotta warriors and horses originate from ancient Greece?

  China News Service, Xi'an, December 13th, title: Tian Jing: Does the sculpture art of terracotta warriors and horses originate from ancient Greece?

  China News Agency reporter Bian Feng Alina

  As one of the most important archaeological discoveries in China in the 20th century, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum were "born out of the sky" for more than 40 years, like a "secret room of Chinese culture", which has always aroused endless reverie and questioning by the public.

Scholars at home and abroad speculate that the huge terracotta warriors were influenced by ancient Greek culture.

Photo of early excavation work of Qin warriors.

China News Service issued Zhang Tianzhu's picture

  Tian Jing, deputy dean of the Mausoleum Museum of the First Emperor of Qin, said in an exclusive interview with China News Agency "Ask from East and West" that the terracotta warriors and horses embody the unique spiritual value, way of thinking and aesthetic orientation of the Chinese nation. They are sculptures born and grown in China and are representative of Chinese civilization. Carrier.

The transcript of the interview is as follows:

Reporter from China News Service: It has been nearly half a century since the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, but the popularity has not diminished. Why is it so popular? How do you understand the significance of discovering the Terracotta Warriors?

Tian Jing:

Terracotta Warriors and Horses have unique historical value, artistic value and scientific value.

Thousands of pottery figurines with thousands of people and thousands of faces formed a magnificent army formation, forming a strong visual impact.

Over the past 40 years, 120 million domestic and foreign audiences have come to see the terracotta warriors and horses, including more than 200 foreign heads of state and government.

  In addition, the terracotta warriors and horses were invited to "visit" exhibitions in 171 cities in 50 countries and regions around the world, wherever they went, there would be a wave of "Qin warriors fever".

It can be said that the terracotta warriors and horses are the typical representatives of the splendid ancient Chinese culture, and they are the golden business cards that charm China.

In 2005, the terracotta warriors and horses were exhibited in Leipzig, Germany, attracting a large number of local people to watch.

China News Service sent the interviewee's picture

  The historical value of the terracotta warriors and horses is that they make up for and enrich the history of the Qin Dynasty.

Historians believe that the terracotta warriors and horses let people see the hair makeup, military clothing and even the joys, sorrows, sorrows and joys of the soldiers of the Qin Dynasty.

Such realistic sculptures provide researchers with fresh materials.

The scientific value of the terracotta warriors and horses lies in the firing process, the production technology, and the anti-rust process of weapons, some of which are still unsolved mysteries.

Its artistic value lies in the fact that the terracotta warriors and horses are real sculptural works of art, which brings many research topics to the firing, production and shaping process.

  Since the appearance of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, experts and scholars have focused on the historical origins, modeling styles, shaping techniques, and scale of the sculptures of the Terracotta Warriors, and have re-understood the origins, traditions and artistic characteristics of Chinese sculptures.

At present, the major discoveries of terracotta warriors and horses archaeology are manifested in three aspects: First, the unearthed pottery warriors of different types of soldiers have provided physical data for scholars to study the military history of the Qin Dynasty.

Second, the excavation unearthed painted terracotta warriors and horses, showing the true colors of the Qin warriors and horses, and changing the previous view that the terracotta warriors and horses are lead-grey.

The third is that more than 40,000 bronze weapons were unearthed in the pits of the terracotta warriors and horses. The anti-rust technology, casting technology and standardized technology of the weapons have left many research blanks.

With the advancement of archaeological excavations, more types of pottery figurines are expected to be unearthed to provide new information for research.

Protected painted kneeling figurines.

China News Agency issued Zhang Tianzhu photo

Reporter from China News Service: Some scholars believe that the carving skills of terracotta warriors and horses originated from ancient Greece. How do you understand it?

Tian Jing:

The unearthed terracotta warriors and horses make people wonder, how could such a large group of exquisite pottery sculptures suddenly appear?

Pottery figurines and wooden figurines were also unearthed from tombs in the pre-Qin and Warring States period, but they were relatively small in shape, few in number, and rough in shape.

The sudden changes in the shape and size of the terracotta warriors and horses have caused people to rethink the tradition and characteristics of ancient Chinese sculpture art.

So some scholars put forward different opinions on the artistic origin of the Qin warriors, and the viewpoint of "externally speaking" appeared.

  After the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the Qin Warriors Research Association organized many academic seminars on special topics.

Zhang Ding, the dean of the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts at the time, pointed out that the terracotta warriors and horses are sculptures native to China, and this view has become a consensus in the academic circles.

From the Neolithic Age to the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, realism has always been the main theme of sculpture art.

The Terracotta Warriors are the product of the previous development and innovation of realism. It is a sign that the realism art of ancient China has reached the mature stage, showing grand beauty, sublime beauty, and quiet beauty.

  Experts believe that the torso of the terracotta warriors is refined and generalized, and the facial depiction is delicate and vivid.

This emphasis on vividness and facial expressions is a characteristic of Chinese traditional sculpture art.

The terracotta warriors and horses obviously inherited this tradition, and their facial styling embodies the unity of commonality and individuality.

In terms of sculptural techniques and techniques, the traditional clay sculpture, the combination of painting and sculpture, and the techniques of firing pottery that have gradually formed since the Neolithic Age have all been flexibly used in the terracotta warriors and horses.

The terracotta warriors and horses are works of art made with traditional Chinese techniques of stacking, molding, pasting, and kneading. They have epoch-making significance in the history of Chinese sculpture.

In July 2021, in the Museum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum in Lintong District, Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province, staff are repairing the terracotta warriors and horses.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Yichen

Reporter from China News Service: The terracotta warriors and horses belong to the tomb of the emperor, and they have not appeared before and after Qin Shihuang. Why do the terracotta warriors belong only to Qin Shihuang?

Tian Jing: It

can be said that the spirit of the times has made the Terracotta Warriors.

It is based on the traditional art of the Chinese nation, produced under the combined effect of the historical background and the spirit of the times.

  First of all, for the majesty of "one emperor through the ages", Qin Shihuang became fanatical in his pursuit of "big". For example, he built the Great Wall of China to resist foreign intrusion and built the Qin Zhidao with a total length of more than 700 kilometers.

The tomb of Qin Shihuang is fifty feet (115 meters) high, with a total area of ​​56.25 square kilometers.

In such a huge area, more than 7,000 terracotta warriors and horses similar in size to real people and horses appeared. It seemed to be sudden, but in fact it was inevitable. This was a product of historical conditions at that time.

  Secondly, after Qin Shihuang completed the great cause of reunification, he was able to concentrate the nation's material and financial resources and skilled craftsmen for large-scale work.

The mutual exchange and integration of the sculpture skills of various regions and nationalities will inevitably produce new sublimation and leaps.

Pottery inscriptions with the names of craftsmen were found in the hidden places of the terracotta warriors. Some began with the word "gong", indicating that the author came from a court pottery workshop, while others were named with a place name indicating that the author came from a local pottery workshop.

The characters depicting the names of potters were also found on some Qin bricks, reflecting from the side that the "Wule Gongming" system had been used in Qin Dynasty and became the earliest production responsibility system in China.

  Furthermore, from the Neolithic Age to the Qin Dynasty, people have accumulated rich experience in pottery shaping, carving, and firing.

The large-scale bricks and pottery of the Qin Dynasty were accurate in shape, the firing temperature was as high as 1,000 degrees, and the firing color was uniform. The pottery figurines and horses did not appear to be pinched, burnt, or deformed, indicating that there were already a group of skilled potters at that time. .

They often burn pottery objects, so they can master the craftsmanship of pottery figurines and horses.

They are familiar with ordinary soldiers from the lower classes of society, so they can create lifelike artistic images of soldiers in the Qin Dynasty.

  On the whole, the profound cultural accumulation and artistic tradition, the specific spiritual needs of the times, the abundance of material foundations and skilled potters are the soil for the generation of terracotta warriors and horses.

As a sculpture born and bred in China, the Terracotta Warriors are a display of the imagination and creativity of the Chinese nation.

In January 2020, the "Long Forever-Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang Culture and Art Special Exhibition" was launched at the Shaanxi History Museum.

The picture shows the terracotta warriors on display.

Photo by Peng Hua issued by China News Agency

China News Agency reporter: Among the remains of Chinese cultural relics, why have the terracotta warriors and horses become one of the typical "Chinese symbols"?

How do you understand the spiritual symbol of Chinese civilization?

Tian Jing: The

terracotta warriors and horses highlight the development of politics, military, culture, science and technology and even the entire society from the Warring States to the Qin Dynasty. They are an important symbol of Qin civilization. They specifically show the four characteristics of largeness, variety, precision, and beauty.

  The first is that the individual is tall, the average height of the pottery figurines is 1.8 meters, just like a real person.

Secondly, there are a lot of them. The army is magnificent. There are more than 6,000 pottery figurines buried in Pit No. 1 alone.

The third is fine carving, each figurine is unique and lifelike.

The fourth is perfect firing.

The terracotta warriors and horses truly reflect the appearance of the people in the Central Plains. The facial features, posture, expressions and proportions are all appropriate.

This is a process of artistic creation and artistic processing. It is the crystallization of the wisdom and hard work of the team, and it can be accomplished by non-individuals alone.

The terracotta warriors and horses embodies the aesthetic taste of the Qin people and the Chinese nation's pursuit of harmony, harmony, and positive spirit.

Panoramic view of Terracotta Warriors and Horses Pit No. 1.

China News Agency issued Zhang Tianzhu photo

  Therefore, the terracotta warriors and horses are both an ancient military treasure house, an art treasure house and a cultural treasure house. It embodies the unique spiritual value, way of thinking and aesthetic orientation of the Chinese nation, and is an extraordinary display of the powerful vitality, imagination and creativity of the Chinese nation.

The terracotta warriors and horses are Qin Shihuang's "fighting for the sixth life, vigorously striving for the long-term strategy and imprisoning the inner space", achieving "cars on the same track, writing the same text, and walking the same", completing the historical testimony of the unification of the Chinese nation.

National reunification has since become the unremitting pursuit of the Chinese nation.

(Finish)

About the interviewee:

Tian Jing is a researcher and deputy dean of the Mausoleum Museum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Photo courtesy of Tian Jing

  Tian Jing is a researcher and deputy dean of the Mausoleum Museum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, and an expert with outstanding contributions in Shaanxi Province.

Engaged in the research of Qin and Han culture and museology for more than 30 years, published "The Art of Qin Warriors", "Qin Palace Culture", "Qin Army Tour-Terracotta Warriors and Horses Outreach Documentary", "Research on Heritage Site Explanation and Training", "Heritage Site Explanation and Training Course" 20 other books.

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