PHILADELPHIA - Every year, millions of tourists travel to the Chinese city of Xi'An to see the ancient Terracotta warriors. Now, you can see those warriors right here in Philadelphia.
The Franklin Institute has 10 of the Terracotta warriors on exhibition, part of an army of 8,000 life-sized figures China's first emperor, Qin had built for his burial site.
"It's similar, I would say, to the Egyptians and their tombs in which, in the afterlife, they would have all of the necessities they needed to live and be protected," says Larry Dubinsky, President & CEO of The Franklin Institute.
A farmer digging a well discovered remnants of the warriors in 1974 but they date back to the year 200 BCE.
"It is 2200 years old in the making," says Dubinsky, "one of the amazing things about it is 700,000 people built this emperor's tomb. The space of the entire tomb where the emperor's burial site is is the size of Manhattan island."
Emperor Qin ruled for just 10 years but he unified warring states, creating the geographic borders of modern day China, which is now the most populous country in the world.
"He was an amazing emperor in that arts and culture and currency, weights and measures are all part of things that had come out during his leadership," explains Dubinsky.
The Chinese government traditionally allows 10 Terracotta warriors to come to North America each year. For this trip, The Franklin Institute is the only East Coast stop.
"The institute went to Xi'An to make its case of why this exhibition should come here," says Dubinsky who argues The Franklin Institute is the best at bringing history, science, culture altogether under one roof.
Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor is on display thru March 4th and there's a companion film in the institute's IMAX Theater.
Franklin Institute: Terracotta Warriors
271 N. 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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