An army of life-sized warrior and horse pottery figures made to guard the burial site of Qin Shi Huangdi, the "First Emperor of China" in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). The so far found warrior figures all stand in battle formation, facing East, with their backs to the tombs of the Emperor and his retinue.
They were discovered in 1974 when farmers drilling for water near the ancient city of Xi'an found the first shards of pottery that indicated their presence. Current estimates point towards that there all in all might be over 8,000 life-sized pottery warrior figures, each including infantry and cavalry with spears, bows, 130 chariots and more than 600 horses, of which the majority are still buried and yet to be discovered and restored.
The three so far excavated pits are listed as a Unesco World Heritage site and are regarded as one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century.
The figures exemplify from a technical point of view the high degree of specialization and organization of the Chinese pottery industry at this date.
It has been speculated that there might be three more armies, not yet found, thus one each facing all four directions of the compass.