History of Xi'an Terracotta & Pottery

Ancient Xi'an people were the masters of clay. Since the very beginning of Chinese civilization, people living in Banpo (6 km away from nowadays Xi'an city) in over 6000 years ago had mastered the techniques of making sophisticated terracotta and pottery crafts. Before Chinese porcelain was traded along the Silk Road, a type of glazed pottery called Tang Sancai was once the most popular export product of China. Not to mention the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor.


Terracotta Artifacts of Banpo Ruin

Banpo Ruin, located in the eastern suburb of Xi'an, is an archaeological site first unearthed in 1953. Banpo was considered part of the Yangshao culture from 5000 BC to 4000 BC, which is one of the major origins of Chinese civilization.

The relics of Banpo are characterized by sophisticated terracotta containers and crafts of various kinds. Now the Bampo Museum has been built on the ruins. Some of its best exhibits are shown in the following pictures.


Terracotta Warriors & Horses

Terracotta Warriors & Horses of the Qin Emperor (the first Chinese emperor) is one of the most renowned archeological sites in China. Its magnificent scale and delicate detail of very statue are simply amazing.


Tangsancai, Three Color Glazed Pottery Handicrafts of Tang Dynasty

Tangsancai, also called Three Colored Ware, is a type of glazed pottery handicraft initially produced in the 4th century in China.

This particular type of pottery was named Tang Sancai for two reasons. First, many Sancai pottery crafts were glazed with only three colors, and Sancai means three colors in Chinese. Second, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the production of Sancai reached its peak and became a major export good in trade with the Middle East and Europe via the Silk Road.


Travel Tips

If you are interested in how Terracotta Warriors were made in the first place, you can discover them in the Xi'an Art Ceramics Factory. It is a good place to learn and have fun. You can actually join the workflow to make one on your own by following the original technique and process.

Shaanxi Provincial History Museum, one of the best history museums in China with more than 370,000 exhibits of different times and kinds, is the best place in Xi'an for ancient artifacts, including Tang Sancai.

If you like to see creative contemporary terracotta and pottery artwork, the art studios in the Textile Town Art District are a good place to go.


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