Pollen reveals origins of Terracotta Warriors


People's Daily , Feb. 8, 2007

Chinese researchers recently announced they had solved a mystery after in-depth analysis of pollen found on Qin Terracotta Warriors and horse figurines found in the mausoleum of the first Qin emperor. It appears the Qin Terracotta Warriors and the horse figurines were actually produced in different locations.

The mausoleum of the first Qin emperor was a mystery from the moment it was unearthed. Now, Chinese scientists claim that they have solved at least one of its mysteries. Dr. Hu Yaqin, a scientist from the Institute of Botany under the Chinese Academy of Sciences said, "Some plants were in flower when the emperor ruled China, around 2000 years ago. Some pollen from these flowers fell on the body of the figurines. Of course, it is difficult to distinguish this with the naked eye." A research paper on the subject will soon be published in the "Archaeological Journal".

According to the "Beijing Evening News", researchers have come to the conclusion that different pollen found on the figurines indicates that the Qin terracotta horses were made from materials collected near the mausoleum itself, whereas the warriors were most likely produced somewhere far from the Mausoleum. The precise location is unknown. The terracotta horses are two meters long and weigh 200 kilograms. The Terracotta Warriors weigh about 150 kilograms each. The legs of the horses were the most difficult to make and the most fragile, so researchers presume the horses were produced close to the mausoleum to shorten the transportation distance.

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