The Terracotta Army: An Army Underground

Pit 3

Pit 3 was the smallest of the pits in size and capacity containing only 68 soldiers and one chariot. This pit is meant to represent the command center for the entire army. There is much evidence that supports this. The most obvious is its location. The pit itself is located just north of pit 1 and just west of pit 2. Going along with the theory that that danger was coming from the east, this means that this pit was furthest from the danger and being protected by the other pits. [3] The shape of this pit is very unique as well. It is "U" shaped with the base on the east side. Some historians such as Wenli believe that the shape is actually in the shape of a bow pointed east towards the evil. [4]

This pit is relatively empty compared to the tightly crowded corridors of the other two pits. At the center of the U there is a special chariot facing the entrance. Along with the four horses that draw this chariot there were also four protectors, a driver and three officers. Multiple soil tests revealed that the chariot was at one time beautifully painted and had a canopy. Due to its intense protection and uniqueness in comparison to other chariots, it is believed that the chariot was not made for battle but instead for transporting high officials or even the emperor himself. [1]

The two corridors to the north and south are very unique. The soldiers found here all have their backs to the walls and are standing as if they are on guard. This suggests that these soldiers were guarding these halls as the generals would walk through. Not only did these soldiers look different, they also had different weapons. One weapon that was only found on a guard was a weapon called a shu. [8] This mystical weapon was only given to honor guards in ancient China and were found nowhere else in the pits. At the end of the southern corridor there is a smaller room attached to the end. Traces of wooden doors and curtain fragments suggest that this was used as a secret meeting room for only the top generals. [2]


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