BBC report on Terracotta Warriors refuted

Updated: 2016-10-19 07:15


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BBC report on Terracotta Warriors refuted

Statues found near Xi'an have amazed researchers for decades, leading to theories about their creation. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A Chinese archaeologist recently refuted a BBC report about Northwest China's Terracotta Warriors, saying that the article has quoted her out of context and overstated her remarks about Western influence on the 8,000 life-size figures.

The BBC report, released on Oct 12, said archaeologists have found that inspiration for the Terracotta Warriors at the tomb of the first emperor near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, may have come from Ancient Greece.

The article quoted Li Xiuzhen, a senior archaeologist at the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, as saying, "We now think the Terracotta Army, the acrobats and the bronze sculptures found on site, were inspired by ancient Greek sculptures and art."

However, Li said that the BBC quoted her out of context, as the article ignored much of what she told BBC reporters.

"I think the Terracotta Warriors may be inspired by Western culture, but were uniquely made by the Chinese. BBC overstated my remarks about Western inspiration and ignored the main points I made during the interview," Li said.

Li said the local nature and cultural environment, such as soil, craftsmen and traditional funeral culture, all contributed to the creation of the Terracotta Warriors.

She also pointed out that the article put her quotes right before those of Professor Lukas Nickel from the University of Vienna, whose opinion is contrary to her own, but makes it seem as if they share the same idea.

According to the article, Professor Nickel said, "I imagine that a Greek sculptor may have been at the site to train the locals."

"I am an archaeologist and I value evidence. I've found no Greek names on the backs of Terracotta Warriors, which supports my idea that there was no Greek artisan training the local sculptors," Li said.

(China Daily 10/19/2016 page4)