4. Behind the Terracotta Army

Scholars have reason to feel grateful to the commune workers in Lintong County who in the spring of 1974, by sheer good luck, brought to light the terracotta army on guard at Qin Shi-huang-di's mausoleum where it had been buried twenty feet under the loess soil for 2,200 years. If the find fails to answer all the historian's questions regarding China's imperial unification, it provides clues to several crucial points. The most important is that the evidence speaks of an unmistakable Chinese character, distinct from that of early civilizations elsewhere.

In recorded history, the ancestry of the royal house of the Qin is cited in the "who begot-whom" fashion of the Old Testament. As the chronicles enter into the Warring States period, the entries begin to envelop major events of history with fanciful legends. Even this portrait of Qin Shi-huang-di seems to have been executed by a caricaturist, who must have had the image of the hawk in mind, for the upper lip seems to be represented by a beak. The great historian Sima Qian, who wrote only about a hundred years after Shi-

-31-

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