The Warrior Emperor and China's Terracotta Army

In 1974, farmers in northern China accidentally unearthed fragments of a terracotta figure - the first evidence of what would turn out to be one of the greatest archaeological finds in history. The terracotta army pits of the Warrior Emperor Ying Zheng.

The Warrior Emperor and China's Terracotta Army premieres at the Royal Ontario Museum opening June 2010. The exhibition showcases artifacts from the tomb complex of China's First Emperor – the largest tomb complex in China, and possibly the world.

Buried 2,200 years ago in what is now China's northern Shaanxi province, the First Emperor surrounded himself with nearly 8,000 full sized terracotta warriors and horses in magnificent military formations, along with many other artifacts, in preparation for the afterlife. The warriors are often referenced as the eighth wonder of the world and 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 ROM's exhibition traces key moments in history before, during and after the lifetime of Ying Zheng through over 250 artifacts from the first millennium BC, on loan from more than a dozen archaeological institutes and museums in Shaanxi Province. The ROM will showcase the most full-sized terracotta figures and the largest collection of artifacts related to the Warrior Emperor ever displayed in North America. Nearly a third of the artifacts on display have never been shown outside of China, and some have never been publicly displayed anywhere, making the ROM's exhibition a landmark event.

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Contact information

Royal Ontario Museum
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen's Park
M5S 2C6


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