Terra Cotta Warriors


In 1974, a group of farmers digging a well after a winter drought in northwest China, unearthed fragments of a clay figure, that would turn out to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times. They didn’t know it at the time, but the bronze arrowheads and pieces of pottery the farmers were going to sell in their village were part of a legend. Found near the unexcavated tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the self proclaimed first emperor of China, an underground army of life-size terra cotta soldiers and horses, was found, hidden for more than 2,000 years.


Fast forward to 1995. In Katy Texas, the construction of the Forbidden Gardens was announced. The army was replicated in one-third scale on 80 acres of former rice land outside Houston. Six thousand soldiers stand ready on a stretch of land about the size of a football field.  When it was first under development, it was considered to be a 20-year project that would include a hotel, a 60-foot pagoda, a system of colored ponds, a waterway with boat rides and a Chinese-themed water park. The clay used to make the terra-cotta soldiers was said to come from the Chinese province that produced the originals, and the tiny palaces were built of Chinese wood.


The museum closed in 2011 to make way for a new section of a controversial ring road. With the Grand Parkway slated to cut right through it, the 80 acres was about to become very valuable freeway frontage. The soldiers could not be moved being permanantly afixed to their bases. It’s not feasible to save the Forbidden City. It will probably be destroyed because the liability is too great to leave it there.



6 thoughts on “Terra Cotta Warriors

  1. Francina says:

    Thank you for sharing this post… I have always wanted to see the warriors in China… Lately I was very fortunate to see three of them in one of our museums.
    groetjes, Francina

  2. vsperry says:

    Lord knows Texas needs more roads.
    I had the chance to see the original warriors back in 1985 when they were still being unearthed. It was very impressive. I hear they are not doing well due to environmental issues. Sometimes destruction happens whether we want it to or not.

  3. jlheuer says:

    Amazing. We have a trip planned to China this fall and the warriors on our agenda but the Texas ones were completely off my radar.

  4. sxchristopher says:

    Fascinating post, which says something about how people in the US and elsewhere (China, Europe, etc.) think about history. I can’t imagine such a project like this one in Texas ever being considered, much less built, in Europe.

  5. Wow, that is stunning, its amazing to find these,

  6. Thanks for sharing! I teach Asian History in South Korea and I enjoy teaching about these warriors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s