Envisioning the Tomb of the First Emperor

Envisioning the Tomb of the First Emperor

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM                                                                           Main Green (Flagpole) 

Archaeology students erected life-size prints of terracotta warriors on Brown's Main Green.Archaeology students erected life-size prints of terracotta warriors on Brown's Main Green.Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210 BCE) was king of the state of Qin and First Emperor of a unified China, which he ruled from 221 to 210 BCE. Gifted with exceptional military prowess and colossal ambition, the First  Emperor conceived and completed many monumental projects, including a massive road system, immense defense structures, and —- grandest of all —- his own mausoleum. Believing that his sway extended to the afterlife, Qin Shi Huang built a funerary complex of unprecedented size and complexity. His tomb was so large it would occupy a large portion of the city of Providence. It included more than a hundred chariots, several hundred horses, human and animal sacrificial victims, and as many as 8000 life-size terracotta warriors.

The Joukowsky Institute’s Building Big! class observed the Year of China by recreating a fraction of the sprawling mausoleum. Life-size prints of the terracotta warriors made by Building Big! students were erected on the Brown University Main Green and markers were placed around campus to give a sense of the scope and dimensions of the sumptuous tomb. In addition to celebrating the diverse history and archaeology of China, this project was intended to inspire the Providence community to envision one of the world’s largest and most fascinating funerary structures.