THE UNIQUE BRONZE WEAPONS IN THE TERRACOTTA PITS
Even though the terracotta warriors were built with clay, they were armed with bronze weapons just like in a real battle, so as to give a realistic impression of the powerful line-up. The terracotta warriors weapons can be divided into three groups, including short weapons, long weapons and long-range weapons like spears, halberds, the Shu, the Pi, sword, Wu hooks and crossbows. The Pi and Wu hook are the first of their kind to be dug up so far. Nearly tens of thousands of terracotta warriors weapons have been dug up from partially excavated pits. The imprints of Xiao Zhuan, which was very negligible, could be found on almost all of the weapons. Some of the symbols described the time in which the weapons were created, some had the name of the official unit for producing arms. These weapons are not only valuable for the studies of the level of craftsmanship in ancient times, but they also help us figure out the time when the Emperor Qin’s terracotta pits were built.
The terracotta warriors weapons are exceptional masterpieces. They appeared to be more normal and sharpened after being cast, filed, drilled and glazed. For instance, the body of the bronze sword was slowly adapted to slice, while its thickness does the exact opposite. The curve between the two sides of the sword is totally balanced, just in accordance with the mechanical theory. It is really incredible to know that such sophisticated weapons were created without the use modern tools.
Asides the superb technical skill, symmetrical alloy components are completely scientific. It is common knowledge that the rigidity and toughness of a bronze product is determined by the different ratios of metallic elements. The six different kinds of optimum ratios between copper and tin were recorded in an ancient Chinese science book named “Kaogongji”. The recorded data was known as “liu qi”. After running tests on the sword and spear, it was discovered that the ratio between tin and copper is quite close to the ratio recorded in “Kaogongji”. Nonetheless, the bronze arrows had more lead, and less tin. Due to the high level of poison in lead, the arrows are even more lethal. All of these show that the people of Emperor Qin had deduced a relatively scientific principle for ratios amongst different metal elements.
Furthermore, the terracotta warriors weapons dug up from the pits show that ancient people made great strides on the development of antirust technology. It is incredible how thousands of bronze weapons, though concealed underneath the ground for over 2,200 years, still shine in metallic lustre. Scientific and technical examination show that these weapons are covered with a thin layer of oxidized chromium whilst being manufactured. Only recently did European countries and the United State gain mastery over this kind of technology, so this is a huge achievement in the history of metallurgical industry.
It is common knowledge that the quality of a weapon is very important in battle efficiency. To a certain extent, Emperor Qin’s conquest of the other six rival states and unification of the entire China can be attributed to the use of great weaponry.