“In the Qin period, the tomb of the deceased was meant to reflect the earthly dwelling. Sima Qian tells us three types of detachments were stationed within the imperial capital of Xianyang, on the banks of the WeiRiver: one in the palace grounds, another outside, while a third guarded the eastern periphery of the city. The Lintong terracottas were found about 1.2 kilometres east of the outer wall of the tomb mound. Are they the third detachment meant to guard the ‘spirit road’?” – Examining the Evidence.

“Historians and archaeologists took it for granted that the thousands of figures were guardians of the tomb of Qin Shihuang. The site of his burial had always been known and Sima Qian had recorded its elaborate contents, although there is no literary reference to the terracotta army and the tomb mound lies a good distance away…Nor do any inscriptions found with the terracotta army identify the army’s ‘owner’. Were the historians and archaeologists too hasty in reaching their conclusions?

      Chen Jingyuan certainly thinks they were. He has studied the inscriptions on pottery and the styles of dress, hair and weapons found in the tomb and believes that they come from the southern state ofChurather than the state of Qin. He has dated them to approximately 260 BC, the approximate time at which Qin Shihuang’s great-great-grandmother, Queen Xuan, died. She was originally from the state ofChu. Little is known about Queen Xuan, although a few sentences in ancient histories and the writings of early philosophers hint that she was tyrannical, cruel and extremely powerful. One sentence records that Queen Xuan was buried at Lintong – the site of the terracotta army. Archaeologists have also found that Qin was not the only state in ancientChinain which servants and concubines were buried with a dead ruler. They have found elaborate tombs from Queen Xuan’s state ofChu, containing as many as six or seven bodies alongside the main occupant.” – Examining the Evidence.

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