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What was Qin Shi Huangdi’s motivation in building the mausoleum with the terra cotta warriors in the first place?        

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kshufford29 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Part of the purpose of Qin Shi Huangdi's life-size terra cotta warriors were to protect him in his afterlife. Emperor Qin was the first emperor of China, and his army was buried with him in 210 BC. The army is composed of soldiers, chariots, archers, and horses, stationed in military formation near Qin's tomb.

As of 2014, less than one percent of the tomb had been excavated, but there are three pits within the tomb that contain the army thought to contain 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and 520 horses. Non-military terra cotta figures were also found in Qin's tomb, including acrobats, musicians, officials, and strongmen. Around 40,000 bronze weapons were also buried with the soldiers, possibly to help with Qin's protection in the afterlife.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The emperor who had this terra cotta army and the mausoleum created was the first to unite all of China under one man.  Because of this, you can imagine that he was pretty ambitious and perhaps even arrogant.  This fact shows up in his reasons for having this army created and buried with him when he died.

According to the video on the site I have linked to, the emperor wanted to use the army to conquer the afterworld.  He thought that since he was able to conquer all of China, he would be able to conquer whatever comes after death as well.

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