Since mysterious terra-cotta warriors were first found in northern China, archeologists have revealed to the world a whole lifelike army. However the tomb of the great Emperor Qin She Huang Di who put end to feudalism and built China wall conceals a lot more secrets as it was thought before. A new radical theory suggests terracotta figures were inspired by Greek art, and that a Greek sculptor may have actually helped create them around 300 BC.
Stunning burial place first came to light in 1974 when local farmers uncovered strange figures while digging a well near the old Chinese capital of Xianyang. Further excavations unearthed sections of a grand funerary complex. Three huge pits harbor several thousand warriors, presumably meant to protect the emperor for eternity.
Scientists couldn’t find an answer how could the royal artists have come up with such an idea. Since than they gathered a variety of provocative clues: terra-cotta statues, bronze figures of birds at the tomb complex may show evidence of Greek influence. But more than that, researchers have turned up European DNA from skeletons at a nearby site in northern China.
After putting all theses facts together the researchers came up with a theory: inspiration for the terra-cotta army may have come from foreign artists. The first contact of Chinese with the West occurred much earlier than thought—some 1,500 years before Marco Polo’s arrival, it means Europeans could have trained the local craftsmen who furnished the emperor’s tomb with statuary. The DNA find suggests Westerners were living there under the dynasty of Qin Shi Huang, the “First Emperor” who commissioned the so-called Terracotta Army for his tomb. “We now have evidence that close contact existed between the First Emperor’s China and the West before the formal opening of the Silk Road,” says an archaeologist on the project. “This is far earlier than we formerly thought.”
According to National Geographic an ongoing study of the tomb has also revealed the remains of what could be the emperor’s sons. Experts say the remains—including a skull pierced by a crossbow bolt—match an account of one of the emperor’s sons murdering his brothers to seize control after his father’s death in 210 BC.