New evidence suggests that China and other super powers of ancient world may have been in contact 1,500 years before the arrival of European explorer Marco Polo
China’s Terracotta army is one of the most significant archeological discoveries of all time. These include the sculptures of more than 8,000 warriors created for the protection of the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang and were buried alongside the emperor with his death in 210 B.C.
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The creation of these mysterious lifelike sculptures has puzzled scientists for decades ever since they were discovered. But it seems that the mystery surrounding ancient Terrra-cotta army is about to solve or maybe it is getting even more complex.
Archeologists studying those ancient warriors have worked out a theory that these sculptures are likely designed by Greek artists who came to China around third Century B.C. and may also have trained the local craftsmen. It points to the fact that outsiders were present in China long before explorer Marco Polo who arrived in China between 1271 and 1275.
“We now have evidence that close contact existed between the first emperor’s China and the west before the formal opening of the Silk Road. This is far earlier than we formerly thought. We now think the Terracotta Army, the acrobats and the bronze sculptures found on site, have been inspired by ancient Greek sculptures and art.” Li Xiuzhen, a senior archaeologist working on the sculptures said in a statement.
The idea is further backed up by ancient European DNA recovered from sites in Xinjian province suggesting Greeks might have settled there before and during the time of the First Emperor. There is no evidence of creating life-size statues in China before the tomb of the First Emperor was built.
The Terra-Cotta Army was discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Shaanxi province and ever since many important excavations have been made on the site. In fact, the recent discoveries have been considered more important than discovering sculptures themselves.
“The archaeological work undertaken here recently is more important than anything in the last 40 years,” said Professor Zhang Weixing, lead archaeologist at the tomb site.”
“By systematically examining the First Emperor’s main tomb and subsidiary burials we have discovered something more important even than the Terracotta Army.”