The life-size terracotta figures created for China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, were buried in battle formation by the thousands to accompany him in the afterlife. The uncovering of this treasure trove in Xi’An, China, in 1974 renewed interest in his 3rd century B.C.E. empire. Not only was Qin Shi Huangdi his nation’s first emperor, he also profoundly shaped the visible expression of Chinese imperial power for centuries to come. His most lasting legacy includes glittering palaces, sweeping defensive walls, and stunning artwork, along with these figures.
Qin Shi Huangdi’s story is a tale of rare treasures and booby-trapped tombs, assassination attempts, and military prowess. Robert DeCaroli, art history professor at George Mason University, explores the ruler who founded an empire and whose ideas about governance, religion, and authority brought him to the heights of power yet sowed the seeds of his downfall.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.