China´s Terracotta Army

The exhibition was shown 28 August – 20 February 2011

China's Terracotta Army – a unique exhibition in an equally unique setting, telling the story of how China came into being and how this mighty empire was built upon the idea of eternal power in time and space. This way of thinking was shaped through monumental burial areas and buildings, uniting China and creating a sophisticated empire which lasted for more than two thousand years: the Middle Kingdom.

The exhibition focused on the Qin and Han dynasties from 221 BC to 220 AD, and included a total of 325 artefacts from eleven museums, five imperial grave sites and more than ten different burial sites in Shaanxi Province. It showcased representative finds from these major burial sites, and illustrated the latest research findings. None of the artefacts had ever been displayed in Sweden before, and the Han Dynasty artefacts have only previously been exhibited in a few locations in Europe. The exhibition had two themes: the unification of the great empire, and life after death for the emperors and their families.

Sensational discoveries

The exhibition focused on two of the most sensational archaeological discoveries in China in recent decades, which have cast new light on an important period in history when China was founded. These are the discovery in 1974 of the now world-famous terracotta soldiers and other finds from the grave of the first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi (221-210 BC), with its approximately 8,000 terracotta soldiers excavated in Lintong near Xi'an in the province of Shaanxi, and the grave of Emperor Jingdi and Empress Wang, which was also discovered close to Xi'an. Jingdi was the fourth emperor of Western Han, the dynasty that succeeded Qin, and was buried at Han Yang Ling Mausoleum, which was built between 153 and 128 BC. The excavations began in the mid-1980s, and more than 10,000 terracotta figures have been excavated to date.