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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Megan Campisi, Pen-Pen Chen
  • Producer Zedem Media
  • Director Michael Kalopedis
  • Artist Jeanne Bornet
  • Animator Maria Savva
  • Sound Designer Andreas Trachonitis
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Pen-Pen Chen


Additional Resources for you to Explore
Each year, archeologists discover more about the Terracotta Warriors as new technologies become available and researchers employ innovative approaches to their work. For example, one study used facial recognition software to determine that each of the Terracotta Warriors is, most probably, unique. Watch this video about how this technology is being used.

Sometimes the answers don’t come from technology, but from human knowledge. To understand how the Terracotta Warriors were made, one research team consulted Zhang Binruo and Han Ping Zhe. These two men make replicas of the Terracotta Warriors for a living today in China. Zhang and Han know if you attempt to make an entire statue out of clay, it will collapse under its own weight. Instead, they make their replicas in pieces and later join them together.

Zhang and Han can produce 200 full-sized replicas of the Terracotta Warriors each year using modern technology, but the original artisans made more than 700 per year. How did they do it? Learn more at: “Secrets of the Dead: China’s Terracotta Warriors” from PBS. What were some of their secrets?

Another study compared how people in the Qin Dynasty made weapons like arrowheads. Read this Washington Post article: Chinese terra cotta warriors had real, and very carefully made, weapons to find out a bit more about what these Terracotta Warriors carried.

It is hypothesized that the Terracotta Warriors could have been built in a "cellular production" system in which small groups of artisans made different parts of the warriors that would later be joined together, much like Zhang Binruo and Han Ping Zhe (see paragraph above) do today. These articles explain more. Take a minute and read them: “Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army” from UCL Institute of Archeology, and “Ears of Ancient Chinese Terra-Cotta Warriors Offer Clues to Their Creation” From National Geographic.

Research has also revealed more about Emperor Qin, including a tale about a royal counselor hiding the Emperor’s death (by disguising the smell of his corpse with pungent fish) until a suitable moment could be found to announce his successor. This article describes more about the life of Emperor Qin: “Terracotta Soldiers on the March” from The Smithsonian.

Archeologists and paleontologists have used computer modeling in replicating ancient relics as well have digital scanning technology to assist with excavation efforts. Read about how they use these tools to assist their work in learning more about the Terracotta Warriors.