The Terracotta Army
The Terracotta Army, or The Terracotta Warriors and Horses, is evidently one of the most impressive works of art. The clay sculptures were made by the unknown artist in approximately the late third century BCE (Yanchou et al), and were discovered in 1974 by farmers in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province.
The Terracotta Army has 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and 670 horses. All of them were burried with the emperor with a purpose to protect his afterlife. The uniqueness of The Terracotta Army is not only in a huge number of sculptures that make it up, but also in the artistic skill with which each figure is created. The following analysis proves the validity of this assertion by the example of The Terracotta Soldier with His Horse attached to the appendix.The mastery of the artist is shown in the material that was selected to create The Terracotta Army. The artist uses the “yellow earth” (Travel China Guide), a special kind of clay found near the mausoleum. Since each figure is made a life-size, experts were disputing about the manufacturing process.
It is now suggested that every detail of the sculpture, for example head or foot, was produced separately and later fired in kilns (Travel China Guide). To provide greater strengths to figures, the unknown sculptor added grit, mica, and feldspar to clay.Like most other sculptures, The Terracotta Soldier with His Horse is grey. This color serves an excellent background, on which one is able to distinguish skilful details, for example rivets on the armor suit. Many shades of gray are seen on the soldier’s horse. The animal for example is of a light grey color, while the bridle is made from darker clay. The combination of shades makes the sculpture more realistic. The realism is also achieved by the fact that the sculpture uses very light grey clay to make the horse’s teeth. They are so skillfully fashioned that the audience easily assumes it is a young and very healthy animal with straight and strong jaw.
Lines make a very important element of the sculpture. In The Terracotta Warrior with His Horse, there are almost no straight lines that would make the art work static. Instead, a range of curved lines are used to direct viewers’ eyes. They for example direct the viewers’ eyes to the warrior’s chin, perfectly-balanced and indicating a strong will of its owner. The lines also direct the viewers’ attention to the horse’s face. On it, one can see a swollen vein that indicates an incredible physical stress of the animal. It is a very strong and hardy horse that is a good companion to his master.
Although the light source varies depending on whether the sculpture is exhibited, it is very important for understanding the splendor of the sculpture. The light which is incident from above, as it is seen in Appendix, draws viewers’ attention to the warrior’s face. It is absolutely calm, and reflects the philosophy of devotion and fatalism. …