The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting him in his afterlife. The figures were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.
In March of 1974, some farmers of the local Xiyang Village began digging a well to find a water resource on some waste land. The well digging began on March 24 and ended on March 29, one of the diggers named Yang Zhifa accidentally discovered a man-sized pottery figure with grey appearance. Then many fragments of the terracotta warriors, copper weapons as well as floor tiles were found in succession.
Someone in charge reported the finds to the local protection department of cultural relics. The local cultural workers thought the Pottery God and the weapons could be national treasures, and they collected the arrows and crossbows and the broken pieces of the warriors, and then sent these relics to the local cultural center for restoration.
The restoration work drew the attention of a journalist who was visiting local relatives. He wrote an internal reference to the central government to report the discovery, which drew the government’s great attention. Then the government established an excavation team to unearth the terracotta army on 15th July. Since then, the terracotta army has gradually become known to the world.
The figures vary in height according to their rank, the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army hold more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remain in situ in the pits near Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Other, non-military terracotta figures were found in adjoining pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.
According travelchinaguide.com & Wikipedia