For the next four weeks we will be studying the entombed warriors of Xian. Discovered by a farmer in the 1970s, the terracotta warriors make up part of a vast life size army created to guard the entrance to the tomb of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi. Nearing the end of his life, Qin Shi Huangdi became obsessed with immortality – seeking elixirs and potions to conquer death. He also contracted thousands of craftsmen to build an extravagant mausoleum under the veil of secrecy. In order to prevent craftsmen from spilling the secret, he had them trapped within the walls and left to die.

Although, after his death the Qin reign only lasted for a mere fifteen years, Qin Shi Huangdi’s legacy had a profound impact on China. His achievements include the unification of China, standardisation of many aspects of Chinese life, and an encouragement of innovation in artistic technique of both the arts and architecture.