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In 246BC, when 14year old Ying Zheng ascended the throne of the Chin provence of China and took for himself the title first emperor, he made his plans clear. And he proceeded to war against his neighbouring states until he had united China and made himself it’s emperor. But his plans did not stop there, for he wanted to be similarly prepared for life after death. So he began the construction of his tomb, and around the site where his body would be buried he built a series of halls to house a large standing army, complete with soldiers weapons, horses, and chariots. There are no written records left of how big the whole complex is, but so far excavations have revealed over 7,000 life sized terracotta clay figures that were part of this army. Each figure has a unique face, appropriate clothing for their rank, and real weapons. Clearly Ying had eternal ambitions for the fame of his name.

During his reign as Emperor of China, Ying unified the country, the currency and the written language. But he also gained a significant reputation as a tyrant, removing any opposition and forcing people to work as virtual slaves on his grand building projects. So much so, that when he died his son’s reign as emperor was soon overthrown by revolt. In the process Ying’s tomb was smashed and burnt, so that many of the terracotta figures found today are not intact. The judgement of the Chinese people themselves was that they wanted no more of this emperor in any life.