Terracotta Warriors make UK return with Liverpool museum exhibition
Excitement is building in the British city of Liverpool as the World Museum prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to view its Terracotta Warriors exhibition.
After making the 8,000-kilometer journey from Xi'an in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, conservators from the National Museums Liverpool and Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau have been checking the condition of the 2,000-year-old relics and setting up the exhibition, which opens on Friday.
The warriors return to the United Kingdom 10 years after some were displayed at the British Museum in London.
Fiona Philpott, director of exhibitions at National Museums Liverpool, said the 2018 exhibition will tell a different story to the one shown in London.
"We are covering more than a thousand years of history in our exhibition," she said.
"We start with the turbulent years of the Warring States and then we end with the golden years of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220). Sitting right at the heart of the exhibition is China's first emperor and the Terracotta Warriors."
So far, some 8,000 figures have been unearthed near Xi'an, including nine generals, one of which will be exhibited in Liverpool.
Never seen before
A life-size terracotta horse is also part of the 10-figure collection on loan to the Merseyside museum, with around 180 objects on display, some of which have never been seen in the UK.
"We have been preparing for this since 2015," said Wu Haiyun, project manager at the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center.
"Our British counterparts proposed the idea and they sent people including government officials and the culture minister to Xi'an to discuss holding an exhibition. This has opened the door in connecting China and Britain through history and culture."
Liverpool is home to one of the oldest Chinese communities in Europe and David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool, said that they are proud to be strengthening the city's connections with other cultural organizations in China and creating an exhibition program that continues to excite and inspire visitors from across the globe.
The Terracotta Warriors were created 2,000 years ago and buried with China's first emperor Qin Shihuang to protect him in the afterlife.
The figures were discovered in 1974 and since then, more than 8,000 life-size Terracotta Warriors have been unearthed across four large pits. Each soldier was found with its own with individual clothing, hair and facial features.
China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors at Liverpool's World Museum will run from Friday to Oct 28.