ChineseJapanese  Bookmark    Print Page

Bronze Chariots and Horses

In December 1980, archaeologists discovered a large pit holding two sets of painted bronze chariots and horses, 20 meters with the Emperor Qin’s tomb mound. The pit is about 7.8 meters beneath the present ground level with the bronze chariots and horses placed in a big wood coffin originally. Due to the passage of time, wood had rotted and the covering earthen layers had collapsed. When excavated, the chariots and horses were damaged into thousands of pieces. Fortunately, the pit had not been stolen, all the broken pieces were overlapped in disorder on the ground. Through eight years’ painstaking restoration by the archaeologists, the complete two sets of bronze chariots and horses are now on display in the museum.

Investigation reveals that the chariots were the deluxe sedans used by the emperor when he went on inspection tours in his after life, They were exactly modeled after the real chariots, horse and driver, but made in half size. Bronze was used for making chariots, horses and charioteers and large amount of gold and silver used as ornament. Both chariots and horses were cast in perfect proportion. The exquisite color paintings made the bronze chariots look more magnificent and noble. As a result of study and research, archaeologists named them   “high Chariots” and “Comfortable Chariots” respectively. Each chariots had a single shaft, two wheels and was drawn by four horses. These are the biggest, most deluxe, structurally most realistic and best preserving bronze chariots and horses that have been unearthed so far.

High Chariots: The chariots and the horses in the front is totally 2.57 meters long and weighs about 1,061 kilos. It is regarded as “Battle Carriage” or “Inspection Carriage”, too. On the outer side of the left protecting board there is an arrow quiver in which 12 bronze arrows are laid. While on the inner right side of the protective board there is a bronze shield inserted in a set of silver shield-holder. Both sides of the shield are colorfully painted by cloud-like patterns. This shield is the most intact and complete one ever discovered from the Qin Dynasty. 

The charioteer stands on the chariot is looking ahead with prudent and humble facial expression. He is wearing the headgear and his square-toed shoes curve slightly towards the ankles. He is armed with a long sword and decorated with a jade ring at the waist. Both of his hands are extending forward. The thumb is apart from the forefinger, while the other three fingers are together holding bridle reins. The fingers are thin and long, the fingernails are round and full. The vivid imitation made two hands look like real ones.

Comfortable Chariots: It is about 3.17 meters together with the horses and weighs about 1,241 kilos. The carriage is longer and divided into a front chamber and a back chamber. The front chamber if for a sitting charioteer riding the carriage. The costumes of the High Chariot’s driver and Comfortable Chariot’s driver are the same, but the sitting driver looks more humble. The back chamber is quite spacious, 0.78 meters wide and 0.88 meters long. The window panels of the back chamber are cast into shallow diamond-flower holes, which are neatly aligned into rhombic patterns. The holes are used for ventilation. So the Comfortable Chariots is also named “Air-conditioned Carriage” 2,200 years ago.

The roof of the carriage is a turtle –shell canopy. The canopy is 1.78 meters long, 1.29 meters wide.

Workmanship: The thinness of bronze cast walls is one of the significant characteristics of the bronze chariots. The thickest position of the canopies of two chariots is 4mm, whereas the thinnest place only 2mm. The canopy of the Comfortable Chariot covers an area of 2.3 square meters. This is not an easy job to accomplish even today. 

Driving and Harnessing Mechanism: Both High Chariot and Comfortable Chariot are of the single-shaft type. The driving process is “horses puling the yokes, yokes are lined with the balance block, balance block pulling the shaft, and the shaft pulling the carriage”. Each chariot has four horses, two central-horse and two side horses. In order to keep the four horses pull steady and the chariots walk smoothly, there is each o bronze belly-drive suspended at the outer ribs of the two central-horses. On the end of belly-drive are cast with four sharp cones protruding toward the side horses. In case the side horse walks in, the four sharp cones would stab and pain it. If the side horse walks out, the rope round the side horse would be stretched tight.

From the teeth engraved in the mouths of the horses, it is evident that the eight horses to the chariots are all six years old, at the best age for draught. The coarse-fiber tassel on the head of each side horse is the symbol of the social position and authority.

Color-painting: Both chariots were originally painted with bright colors ranging from vermilion, pink, green, blue to white, but the basic color was white. Chinese ancestors believed “Ying-Yang” theory. According to this theory, the space and the earth were divided into five directions, Which were represented by five colors-red, black, yellow, blue and white, representing the south, the north, the center, the east and the west respectively. So this set of bronze chariots and horses used basic white color to indicate the west direction. It can also foretell that the other four-colored bronze chariots and horses probably will be discovered in future around the emperor’s tomb. This is the most important and most outstanding characteristic of the bronze chariots and horses.

More than ten kinds of color pattern depicted on the chariots, most of which were dragons, phoenixes, diamonds, clouds and geometric designs. The layer of color painting has protected the bronze, delayed the process of oxidation. This is what the Qin people could not realize at the time.



Tailored Tours

You can make your travel plans and package tours to China by sending us your requirements for your vacation on your own and we'll combine all elements you required to reply your enquiries.

Your request will be replied within 24 hours with detailed itinerary and quotation, and we will fill you in with all the information you need to know before coming!

Our Sales Team is always ready to provide you with customized programs to meet your needs.

There is no charge on this service!

Need more information ?

Ask the tour operator questions about this tour and get reply within 1 working day!

Name:    Email:    Tel:    


Attractions of Xian

  1. Foping Nature Reserve for Giant Pandas
  2. Xian Ox Culture and Ceramics Museum
  3. North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  4. Changqing Nature Reserve
  5. Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
  6. Chenlu Ancient Town
  7. Maoxian
  8. Xian
  9. Zhaoling Mausoleum
  10. Yong Le Gong Temple
  11. Qianling Mausoleum
  12. Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor
  13. Han Yangling Mausoleum
  14. Shaanxi Foping National Reserve
  15. Famen Temple
  16. Xian Ancient City Wall
  17. Shaanxi History Museum-II
  18. Bell & Drum Towers
  19. Banpo Museum
  20. Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses
  21. Shaanxi Grand Theater
  22. Peasant Painting Exhibition Hall in Huxian
  23. Huxian Farmer's painting
  24. Tang Dynasty Art Museum
  25. Great Mosque
  26. Hui Nationality
  27. Islamic Religion
  28. Qianling Mausoleum
  29. Hukou Waterfalls
  30. Yan'an Pagoda
  31. Shaanxi Delicacy
  32. City God Temple in Sanyuan
  33. Xingqing Palace
  34. Daming Palace
  35. Blue Dragon Temple
  36. Feiyuan Museum
  37. Mount Hua
  38. Shaanxi History Museum
  39. Anwu Village
  40. Welcome Ceremony at the Ancient City Wall
  41. Luoguantai Shrine
  42. Han Maoling Mausoleum
  43. Han Yangling Tomb
  44. Yao Zhou Kiln Museum
  45. Qujiang Pool
  46. Xian Museum
  47. Xian High Tech Industries Development Zone
  48. The Silk Road
  49. Small Wild Goose Pagoda
  50. Forest of Stone Tablets
  51. Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuangdi
  52. Xianyang
  53. Fuping Ceramic Art Village and Fule International Ceramic Art Museum
  54. Huaqing Hot Springs
  55. Banpo Village Museum
  56. Han Changling Mausoleum
  57. Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  58. Daming Palace National Heritage Park
  59. All Day Mall of the Great Tang Dynasty
  60. International Horticulture Exposition 2011 Xian
  61. Drum Tower
  62. Bell Tower
  63. Xingjiao Temple
  64. Bell Tower
  65. Mt.Hua
  66. Pit No.3 of Terra Cotta Army
  67. Pit No.2 of Terra Cotta Army
  68. Pit No.1 of Terra Cotta Army
  69. Dim Sum Delicacy
  70. Tomb of Princess Yongtai
  71. Bronze Chariots and Horses
  72. Tang Paradise

Special Notes

China Tours
China Highlights Tours
Yangtze River Cruise
Shangri-La Tours
Silk Road Tours
Tibet Tours
City & Budget Tours
Xi'an Tours
Beijing Tours
Shanghai Tours
Guilin Tours
Other Cities
Theme Tours
Tailor Made Tours
China Guide
Chinese Culture
China City Guide
China Attractions
China Travel Kit
China Maps
China Photos
Travel Tools
Terms & Conditions
Payment Options
Contact Us


China Bravo Tours operated by Xi'an CITS
Travel Permit No: L-SNX-GJ00003
Business License: 610000100091601
Tel: 0086-29-86692055
Customer Service:0086-29-86692055
Fax: 0086-29-85360933
Copyright (C) Xi'an CITS, All Rights Reserved

Partner Sites: Expedia | Priceline | Flight Centre | Hotwire | Orlando Theme Park Vacations | Sell Off Vacations | Marathon Hotel Guide |
Dubai apartment rentals | Web-Popularity | More Partners...