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Czech Scientists Created Replicas Of Terracotta Warriors Shoes

a group of terracotta warriors
a group of terracotta warriors in Xian Terracotta Warriors Museum

Czech scientists, faculty of Tomas Bata Technology University in Zlín, managed to create replicas of shoes of so called terracotta warriors made some 2,200 years ago. The statues of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses (or The Terracotta Army) were created on an order of the First Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang circa 210 BC. The statues were found in 1974 near the Mausouleum of the First Qin Emperor near Xi'an in Shaanxi province.

The terracotta figures were destined to protect the Emperor’s tomb and depicted soldiers, officers and generals, horses and chariots and other characters of that era. The clay soldiers were of different height in accordance with their rank – naturally generals are the tallest ones.

The dean of Tomas Bata University Petr Hlaváček informed journalists that in between 2005 and 2007 Czech scientists run a project on the history of shoe making in China. The results of that study showed that shoes of ancient Chinese soldiers were most likely made of leather rather then some kind of textile. The findings were based on analysis of both writing materials and photo documents.

One more important finding of the three-year study is that those ancient military footwear demonstrated rank of its owners. Mr. Hlaváček told that “shoes reflected the status, wealth and personal ambitions." There were discovered at least two types of boots. The more advanced boots were additionally equipped with extra leather straps for convenience and practicality.

Then Czech experts on making replicas produced the shoes identical in shape to the originals for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing after the design approval by Chinese officials. By that’s not all. By the end of this year visitors of Prague's Lucerna will be able to see the exact replicas of the Terracotta Warriors made in scale 1:10 with help of the same materials and techniques used by ancient Chinese craftsmen.

Photo: a group of terracotta warriors in Xian Terracotta Warriors Museum, by Miguel A. Monjas (wikimedia.org)

Date: 02/10/2009

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