China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy
October 28, 2012 through January 27, 2013
Target Galleries (admission charged; advance registration strongly encouraged)


Presented by: Get a glimpse into the life and legacy of China's First Emperor. And see more than 120 rare objects--including 8 terracotta tomb warriors and 2 horses--and other amazing artifacts from this extraordinary archaeological excavation.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience, this exhibition takes visitors on a journey from the birth and rise of the Qin Empire to the life and rule of the First Emperor, his quest for immortality, and his death, burial, and legacy. This is a rare opportunity to view treasures from one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of our time, drawn from more than 13 institutions in China, including the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Institute, and the Shaanxi History Museum. A presentation of objects, including bronze ritual and jade artifacts, gold and silver ornaments, and palatial architectural components, illustrates the emergence of the Qin State more than 2,000 years ago.

The MIA was among the first museums outside China to feature some of these figures in a small display held in 1985. A quarter-century later, Chinese archaeologists are still toiling away around the burial mound of one of the most remarkable figures in the history of China, the First Emperor. Don't miss your chance to learn more about this extraordinarily influential man.

About the First Emperor: Born in a time of turmoil in China's history, known as the Warring States period (475-221 BCE), Qin Shihuang, or First Emperor, founded the short-lived Qin dynasty (221-206 BCE). He forged the seven warring states into one nation, and his legacy of a centralized bureaucratic state would be carried on to successive dynasties over the next two millennia.

Driven by an eagerness for immortality, the First Emperor began to plan his burial from the moment he ascended the throne at age 13. The complex plan and symbolic content of the mausoleum, as gradually revealed by the ongoing archaeological excavations, are far beyond anyone's imagination.

The terracotta army was discovered in 1974; later, Chinese archaeologists excavated three pits containing more than 7,000 terracotta warriors with horses and chariots, all designed to protect the First Emperor in the afterlife. His tomb was an elaborate subterranean palace, a parallel world that would enable his rule after his death.

This exhibition was organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in partnership with the Asian Art Museum and the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau and Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, People's Republic of China.

Tickets for "China's Terracotta Warriors" are $18-$20 (free for MIA members). Reserve your tickets in advance at artsmia.org, at the door, or by calling (612) 870-3000, or toll-free (888) 642-2787. Tickets may sell out a peak times and on weekends.

Lead Sponsor: Additional support provided by Christie's and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

Media Partner:

Major Sponsor:

Official Airline: