China's Terracotta Army to march into British Museum
London's British Museum will soon host the largest collection of terracotta warriors ever to leave China.
The Terracotta Army, a collection of figures of soldiers buried about 2,200 years ago to guard the tomb of Qin Shihuang, has begun its journey to London, Chinese news service Xinhua reported Thursday.
The Chinese are lending 20 of the life-sized clay statues, along with 100 other artifacts, including weapons and decorative items, to the British Museum.
It's the largest loan yet permitted from the spectacular archeological find discovered near Xi'an in 1974.
"It's going to be the largest exhibition of the Terracotta Army ever to be seen outside China," said Zhao Kun, a specialist at the Xi'an museum that now houses the collection.
The British Museum is to exhibit the artifactsfrom Sept. 13 to April 6, 2008.
Taipei's National Museum of History hosted a similar exhibit last year that drewthousands of visitors.
Last year, the British Museum sent a travelling exhibit to China that included the Rosetta Stone and paintings from European Renaissance masters.
The life-sized clay warriors, each with a different facial expression and hairstyle, were buried about 2,200 years ago to guard the tomb of the Emperor Qin, who died in 210 BC.
The emperorcreated China's first unitary state by conquering rival kingdoms and was a skilled ruler, establishing a single written language, a currency and legal system, and an extensive system of roads and canals.
His terracotta army of more than 1,000 figures was rediscovered by peasants excavating a well.
The original site in Xi'an is still being studied by archeologists.
Some artifacts from the exhibit will continue their travels in 2008, headingto Atlanta, Santa Ana, Calif., and Houston.
With files from the Associated Press