Emperor Qin Shihuangs Tomb
In 221 BC, for the first time in its history, China was united under one emperor, Qin Shihuang of the Qin dynasty. Like many autocrats, Qin Shihuang had an early start on his own mansoleum. The tomb of the Qin Emperor, built by his army, is located at the foot of the Mountain Li(骊山). Emperor Qin ascended the throne when he was only thirteen years old and his reign is widely interpreted as being one dominated by centralized rule and tyranny. The Terracotta Warriors face eastwards, a reflection of the Emperor' fear of eastern invasion.
Although the Emperor did bring peace to the eastern states and unified China, he also ordered that all books be destroyed (except those concerning the Qin Dynasty) and implemented high taxes to fund the Great Wall. Modern historians have revised the opinion of the Emperor as a philistine and dictator. They argue that the wealth of treasures found in his tomb and the artistic value of the warriors themselves are examples of high culture and artistic talent. Whatever the historical opinion, there is no disputing that this was once an incredible and impressive Tomb. Archaeologists believe that the tomb was originally decorated with gold, silver and pearl.
The artists who designed and constructed the mausoleum were buried alive with the Emperor and thereby forced to literally take their secrets to the grave. According to the Emperor's official biography, "The Emperor Qin Shi Huang was buried at the foot of Mount Li. The Emperor started to build his mausoleum as soon as he came to the throne. When he unified the whole country, the Emperor Qin Shi Huang conscripted more than seven hundred thousand convicts to help build his mausoleum and install crossbows, which were automatically discharged to prevent tomb plunderers."
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