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At the heart of the exhibition Qin. The Eternal Emperor and his Terracotta Warriors is the formation of the Chinese Empire, the flamboyant First Emperor himself, and his monumental tomb complex with its spectacular terracotta army, accidentally discovered in 1974, as well as the legacy of his reign in China. The Bernisches Historisches Museum is exhibiting an entire group of the terracotta figures for the first time in Switzerland.
The shimmering installation of cranes in flight – a Chinese symbol of eternal life – welcomes the visitors. In this part of the exhibition, 8,000 silver banners represent the huge number of warriors in the First Emperor’s terracotta army. They appear to form a glistening tide of mercury, thus symbolizing the elixir of life. The black central exhibition structure provides an abstract interpretation of Qin Shi Huangdi’s monumental tomb. The geometry of the structure supports the primary themes: the slope of the ramps underscores the life and rise to power of the First Emperor, his creation of a unified Chinese Empire, and finally his death.
The spectacular figures themselves are presented in the bright treasure rooms. The soft ringing of bells and sounds made by warriors accentuate the mystical atmosphere in the hall. The fascination for Qin Shi Huangdi and his time is further illustrated through additional media animations and graphic installations. Chinese shadow plays form the source of inspiration for the exhibition’s color scheme.