China’s ancient terracotta warriors at Te Papa

By Peata Melbourne

The official caretakers of China's ancient terracotta warriors have been formally welcomed by Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Toa today to mark the opening of the Guardians of Immortality exhibition.

Built in 210 BC, eight warriors from the famous terracotta army will be on display at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington.

For more than 2,000 years the underground army guarded the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

The exhibition's curator Dr Rebecca Rice says Te Papa is offering visitors "an immersive and intimate experience, a chance to see the Terracotta Warriors up close in breathtaking detail."

She says, "The exhibition will also provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the First Emperor's vision and his unification of China, shaping the nation as we know it today."

The 2,300-year-old statues each weigh between 100 and 300kgs and will be on display to the public from December 15, along with 160 other ancient Chinese pieces.