Chinese warriors storm the Field Museum

The warriors built for Qin Shihuangdi’s protection and entertainment after his death more than 2,000 years ago were met with wonder Tuesday from the first school children to enter Field Museum’s grand new exhibit, China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors.

Qin Shihuangdi


It took the work of the entire Field Museum staff to create this “once in a lifetime” exhibit that brings visitors face to face with larger-than-life warriors created by a “man obsessed with immortality,” says Richard Lariviere, president and CEO at Field.

Zhou Kuiying, deputy director general of the Shaanxi Province Cultural Relics Bureau, said through an interpreter that planning for the exhibit began in 2009.

Qin Shihuangdi rose to power in 221 BC and defeated his enemies to create a unified state in China. The man behind the building of the Great Wall of China also built roads and canals, created a single currency and standard form of writing, as well as a standard system of weights and measures.

Kuiying says he believes the exhibit is a great opportunity to help people understand the history of Chinese people and will strengthen the connections between the two countries.

“There’s something for everyone,” says 12-year-old Alexander Tomic of Lincoln Hall Middle School in Lincolnwood.

Tomic and several of his classmates, who have been studying the terracotta warriors, said kids as young as 5 would enjoy the exhibit.

The terracotta army is described as one of the greatest archeological finds in the 20th century.

The Field exhibit includes nine warriors, including archers, infantrymen and armored officers along with a life-sized horse. It also features two replica warriors painted in purple, teal and red to show what the 8,000 terracotta warriors created for Qin Shihuangdi’s underground palace wore. It also features more than 170 objects found in the burial complex, including weapons and pottery. The exhibit has video screens sharing the story of the discovery, but it does not have any hands-on pieces to keep younger children occupied.

Still, seeing the warriors up close is something that will be memorable for all. The Field Museum, which featured the warriors 30 years ago, is the only place in North America to see the warriors this year. They will be at Field until Jan. 8, 2017.

Tickets to China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors are included in the Discovery and All-Access passes.

Get a peek at Tuesday’s exhibit opening:

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