chariot box: H. 27 1/2 in. (69.9 cm); W. 17 1/2 in. (146.1 cm); D. 44 1/2 in. (113 cm)
canopy: H. 8 in. (20.3 cm); W. 52 in. (132.1 cm); L72 in. (182.9 cm)
each horse: H. 30 in. (76.2 cm); W. 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm); L. 47 in. (119.4 cm)
Lent by Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum
Not on view
The chariots on which these two half-life-size models are based were excavated in 1980 from the mausoleum complex of the First Emperor of Qin. Both models bear details faithful to full-size examples. Model no. 1, shielded by an umbrella-like canopy, is a light chariot, used in battle or for inspection tours. Model no. 2 has a heavier carriage, and its box, enclosed under an oval-shaped canopy, is large enough for passengers to sit or sleep.
After his conquest was complete, the First Emperor toured the unified country in his chariot—the same vehicle that would later carry his body to Xianyang for burial. These replicas may have been intended to evoke that chariot. As such, they worked in concert with the terracotta warriors, stone armors, bronze weapons, and interred body of the emperor to complete a narrative of eternal power.
Collection of Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.–A.D. 200)," April 3, 2017–July 16, 2017.
Shaanxi sheng kaogu yanjiuyuan 陝西省考古研究院 (Shannxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology) and Qinshihuang bingmayong bowuguan 秦始皇兵馬俑博物館 (Museum of the Terracotta Army of the First Emperor). Qinshihuang ling tong chema fajue baogao 秦始皇陵銅車馬發掘報告 (Excavation report on the bronze chariots and horses from the Mausoleum of Qinshihuang). Beijing: Wenwu Press, 1998.