ExpoRSA brings a replica of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s ancient burial site to South Africa. Travel through time back to China in the year 207 BC, and discover 300 life-sized clay models of Emperor Qin’s army. It is known that the Emperor, founder of the Qin dynasty, was obsessed with achieving immortality, and thus he had a clay army created to protect him in his afterlife. The army was hidden for more than 2000 years, until labourers digging a well in 1974 discovered one single clay soldier. They had archaeologists dispatched to the sight outside the city of Xi’an, and the archaeologists were not at all prepared for what they would discover. They found thousands of clay soldiers, each with unique facial expressions, armour and positions. Furthermore, during more recent further excavations, clay horses, chariots, waterfowl, musicians, and acrobats have also been discovered. Although the original clay army is open to viewing, the actual tomb of Emperor Qin is still unexcavated. It has been suggested that even greater treasures are hidden in the tomb, but archaeologists are weary of opening it for a number of reasons, including fear of damaging the corpse.
The level of craftsmanship involved in creating the original clay army is absolutely astonishing. It is no wonder that it has become one of China’s major tourist attractions. Now South Africans will also have the chance to experience this mesmerising installation. The exhibition will be in Durban from now until the end of May. After Durban, it will be in Johannesburg from June to August, and Cape Town will host the exhibition from November until January 2017, and visitors will have the opportunity to view 300 of the world’s finest replicas of the original soldiers.