Tomb Warriors

Walking Tour
A - Diversion


The Tomb Warrior exhibit is one of many museum caliber exhibits found in World Showcase. The exhibit highlights the Tomb Warriors, known as the Guardian Spirits of Ancient China. These are from the Qin Shi Huang tomb and are over 2000 years old. Guests are encouraged to, “Travel Back 2,000 years to discover a secret world as revealed through Chinese tomb art.”

Additionally, the exhibit takes guests through a collection of artifacts from the Tang and Sui dynasties as well as many other historical dynasties of China.


The walking tour includes a variety of displays and guests are alerted at some of the official tagging done in these displays with the following sign:

Every artifact discovered at the site is tagged with a unique identification number. This number tells the team when and where the object was found.

The displays further explain the archeological process:

Archeologists begin their work by laying out a grid over the entire site before starting to dig. The grid is used to identify where objects are found during the excavation.

The notes continue with the excavation of the site:

The excavation process destroys the original archeological site. As a result, information about location, soil color, soil texture, and artifacts recovered must be painstakingly recorded.

An explanation of the site itself reveals more of the process:

A Kingdom Underground

At the center of the Qin Shi Huang tomb is an underground palace, the emperor’s final resting place. With the help of modern technology, archeologists have located the burial chamber, but have not uneathered it for fear that any excavation would damage the sanctuary.

Ancient writings report that the palace is a replica of the emperor’s earthly residents and is illuminated by oil lamps meant to shine for all eternity. The texts also state that the entire Chinese Empire was reproduced on a miniature scale – complete with rivers and lakres, and with Jewels representing sun, moon and stars – so that the empire could see his kingdom for eternity.

The continued explanation of the archeological process details sketches from the site:

Archeologists make sketches like this one to precisely document all the features of a dig site as they work.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is the collection of the terra cotta warriors that have been re-created in the center of the exhibit. An explanation of these warriors can be found as well:

An Army for the Afterlife

More than 6,000 terra cotta warriors comprise the “spirit army” to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang from supernatural threats.

Arranged in battle formations, the army included infantry, heavy infantry and cavalry. Reaching six feet tall, these larger-than-life soldiers were giants compared to mortal men. Each was equipped with the finest quality bronze weapons and, remarkably, no two figures are alike.

Another display highlights the tools used in the excavation:

The Tools of an Archeologist

Archeologists use everyday tools like these for the very specialized work of searching through a dig site, centimeter be centimeter. Their goal is to carefully uncover items of historical importance and record as much information about the site as possible.

The next display explains the events that led to the discovery of the tomb of Qin Shi Huang:

A Monumental Discovery

Farmers digging a well in the Shaanxi Province in 1974 accidentally unearthed a monumental discovery – the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of the Qin dynasty.

Archeologists were stunned by the sheer enormity of the 2,000-year old tomb, which stretches over an area of almost 22 square miles. The central mausoleum alone covers 526 acres – twice the size of Epcot. The tomb is still being explored, with new discoveries being made every day. It remains the largest unopened tomb in history.

An explanation reveals what the warriors in the center of the display are made to represent:

This reproduction shows how the terra cotta warriors looked 2,000 years ago when they were newly painted.

The signage in front of the Warriors reads:

Tomb Warriors
Qin Dynasty (221-210 B.C.)

These tomb warriors were intended to be the protectors of the emperor beyond the grave. Nearly all of the faces of the tomb warriors are unique, some archeologists believe that they were modeled after real soldiers.

Many other emperors followed Emperor Qin’s example and created their own spectral armies. One tomb even provided a mess hall for the convenience of the terra cotta statues.

Additional signage around the Warriors reads:

Preparing for Eternity
Qin Dynasty (221-210 B.C.)

The very first act of Qin Shi Huang (before he was emperor) was to make preparations for the afterlife by beginning the construction of his tomb.

Over a period of 36 years, 700,000 laborers constructed a vast underground dry that included a massive palace and a life-size terra cotta army. This army was comprised of over 7,000 cavalry troops, chariots and horses. The tomb has been dubbed “Necropolis” or “metropolis of the dead.”

Additional displays highlight more ancient Chinese Tomb Sculpture:

The Schloss Collection of Ancient Chinese Tomb Sculpture

What began in the 1960s as a modest interest in the largely overlooked realm of Chinese tomb sculpture grew in a lifelong passion for the Schloss family.

Over the next 40 years, they amassed a historically significant collection of ancient Chinese artifcats, providing insight into more than a 1,000 years of social changes, cultural traditions and technical advances in China.

We are pleased to be able to share this fascinating look into another culture and time in TOMB WARRIORS: Guardian Spirits of Ancient China

Their collection highlights the Tang Dynasty as explained by the following:

Age of Affluence and Invention
Tang Dynasty (618 A.D.-906 A.D.)

During the Tang Dynasty, China was the largest, richest and most civilized country in the world. The Tang Chinese made numerous technological advances – most notable was the invention of gunpowder. But true to the reputation of the fun-loving tang, they did not initially use it as a weapon; instead they created fireworks

Even funeral processions were extravagant. A visiting Japanese monk once described them as being more like a carnival or a festival. This bouyant attitude was reflected in the colorful art of the period.

A collection of different artifacts can be found in the Schloss Collection section of the exhibit. These include the following:

Equestrian Figure
Early Tang Dynasty (7th century)

The sense of movement of many of the tomb art figures can be seen in this equestrian figure, whose body leans back as his arms reach upward, as if pulling back on the reins. The horse’s head is tilted slightly, as if responding to the pull on the reins.

Fish with Human Head
Early Tang Dynasty (7th century)

In traditional Chinese symbolism, fish are associated with wealth because of the similar pronunciation of “fish” and “wealth.” The body of this piece resembles a carp, a symbol for marital harmony. This unusual piece with the body of a fish and the head of a human may signify the union of separate entities.

Bull Pulling Cart
Tang Dynasty (8th century)

Carrying valued goods in the afterlife, the cart was made in three parts. The large spoked wheels were made separately, then attached to the cart. The cart itself has a curving roof with a small door in front. The bull pulling the cart is very muscular with defined details, such as his tail flicked upward.

Tang Dynasty (8th century)

Two-humped camels were common in northern China from 200 B.C. until the early 20th century. They were popular in tomb sculptures from the 6th century onward, providing a means for the deceased to carry needed provisions in the afterlife.

Sancai-Glazed Lokapala
Tang Dynasty (8th Century)

This lokapala (or “heavenly king”) served as a tomb guardian. The unglazed head is molded with a foreign face. The color is achieved through sancal, a Chinese word meaning “three glazes.” This name refers to the three different oxides used to create colors, such as iron for yellow and brown tones, copper for green tones, and cobalt for blue. Sancal decoration reached its peak during the Tang Dynasty.

Court Lady
Tang Dynasty (8th Century)

This slender woman stands with her arms folded serenely in front of her, a shawl draped over her arms. Her clothign is covered in an amber glaze, contrasting with her head, which was left unglazed but carefully painted with colored pigments.

The displays continue with a look at the Sui Dynasty:

A Flowering of Culture
Sui Dynasty (589 A.D.-618 A.D.)

The Sui Dynasty reunited China after centuries of disunity and war. The art of the time period reflects the relative peace. Sui sculpture shows an increased interest in court life, mythology, sport, and other peaceful pursuits.

The Sui Dynasty also saw the beginning of the great Chinese porcelain industry, the products of which we still call “china.”

The artifacts of the Sui Dynasty include:

Pair of Tomb Guardians
Sui Dynasty (6th century)

These guardian figures feature human faces on an animal body. Each muscular fiture is seated in a bold pose, leaning slightly backwards. Their heads feature an upright curving horn, with fins covering their back. They are made of white pottery with a straw-colored glaze, a popular glaze in the late 6th and early 7th centuries.

Straw Glazed Court Lady
Sui Dynasty (6th century)

The slender woman wears an elegant gown with long sleeves that gracefully cover her hands. Clear upper class, wears an elegant coiffure and a well-defined shawl.

Court Lady
Sui Dynasty (6th century)

This elegant court lady stands with her head slightly bowed, her hands gently clasped beneath her long sleeves. Her hair is covered in a black pigment and extends down her back. Her delicate facial features are painted in black, with red accenting her lips.

Artifacts from other dynasties can also be found within this exhibit:

Painted Soldier
Six Dynasties, Northern Wei (6th century)

This tall, slender earthenware soldier shows a market change in artistic style from previous periods. He stands fiercely with hsi mouth open, wearing an armor of leather scales. His fists are pierced to hold weapons, most probably a lance and a shield. Traces of white and gray pigment still cover the pottery.

Kneeling Soldier
Six Dynasties, Northern Wei (6th century)

This hand-shaped piece of gray pottery depicts a soldier kneeling and holding a rectangular shield to his side. His right hand has been pierced so that he can hold a weapon. Traces of white and red pigment still adhere to the figure.

Eight Women at Work
Six Dynasties, Northern Wei (6th century)

Shaped by hand rather than using a mold, this grouping of figures depicts women doing household chores. Two are sleving grain, two carry vases, one carries a baby, and the remaining three were once holding other objects.

Northern Wei (early 6th century)

A soldier wearing military clothing with a breastplate (popular through the 6th century) is shown riding a horse covered in armor. The horse’s head is sculpted to show great detail, with equal attention given the details of the rider.

Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.)

This warrior wears an elaborate armor and a winged helmet. A dragon is draped around his neck, indicating that this piece may have been part of a series of figures representing the Chinese zodiac.

Two Roosters
Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.)

Although they look similar, the rooster with the silvery green glaze is made from a mold from red pottery. (the mold seams are visible.) The second rooster is sculpted of earthenware. Roosters such as these could keep the deceased well fed in the afterlife.

Two Molded Pictorial Plaques
Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.)

These two plaques use a light relief to depict their subjects. The first shows a man leading an ox to slaughter, with the ox obviously alarmed. The second plaque shows a tiger attacking a charging ox. Battles between animals – both real and mythological – are often depicted in tomb art.

Three Entertainers
Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 A.D.)

Mingqi of entertainers were often found in tombs, intended to entertain the deceased in the afterlife. One of the entertainers is kneeling, blowing on a wind instrument. Another seems to be playing a handheld instrument, while the third dances.

Earthenware Tower
Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.)

The three story defensive tower rises from a moat inhabited by ducks. Archers man each corner of the middle level. The upper floor is well guarded by six bowmen, with two officials (hands clasped) standign in the doorways.

Tomb Brick
Han Dynasty (25-220 A.D.)

This molded brick depicts dragons on the long, horizontal sides. The end of the brick shows a sculpted oversized head of a man rising above an undersized body.


Guardian Spirits of Ancient China


This attraction typically opens at 11 AM with the rest of World Showcase.


Similar walk through attractions existed in many World Showcase Pavilions while Tomb Warriors was open: