China's Terra-cotta Warriors to Be Shown in London

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Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2007
 
Over 120 loan objects from China's Museum of Terra-cotta Army will be shown this autumn in a major British Museum exhibition which features China's first emperor. 

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, made the announcement on Wednesday at a press launch of the museum's major exhibition in 2007. 

This loan exhibition "First Emperor: China's Terra-cotta Army", scheduled to run seven months from Sept. 13 this year to April 6 of next year, will feature the largest group of material from the tomb of the First Emperor to be loaned abroad, he said.

Exhibits include 20 complete terra-cotta figures from the tomb of world-famous Qin Shihuangdi, China's First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221 to 207 B.C.) and the man who effectively created the state of China 2,000 years ago.

Referring to the terra-cotta figures as the world's first ever "mass-produced quality sculptures," MacGregor said the tomb is unparalleled in world archaeology in terms of its extent and scale. 

The Terra-cotta Army was discovered by chance in 1974 and the tomb site which it guards has continued to be excavated since that date with many new treasures coming the light.

Among the exhibits loaned from the Museum of Terra-cotta Army and the Shaanxi Cultural Relics Bureau in Xi'an, northwest China, will be examples of the famous, life-sized terra-cotta figures -- bureaucrats, acrobats and musicians -- as well as lifelike bronze birds and other material. 

Jonathan Chenevix-Trench, chairman of Morgan Stanley International which sponsors the exhibition, said: "We are thrilled to be partnering with the British Museum for this tremendously exciting exhibition. Morgan Stanley was the first to bring international investment banking services to China's past, the first time many of these treasures will ever have left China."

The exhibition will offer an introduction to the First Emperor's achievements and, through the use of new research and excavation, a reassessment of his world through the enduring legacy of his tomb complex.

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