The Underground Army Of Han Yangling

Although the Terracota army of Emperor Qin is the main attraction in Xian, there is another lesser known subterranean army that is just as, if not more, impressive!

The underground army of Han Emperor Jing Di Liu Qi and Empress Wang Zhi at Yangling, is six times larger, houses around 40,000 individual figures, and is supposed to have taken 28 years to construct!

The army was interred with the king in 141 BC around his burial mound that is still untouched. The swank museum sits right over the 10 excavated pits (of the 81 in total!!) The floor of the museum is clear glass and beneath your feet, half embedded in the trenches, lie columns of miniature doll like figures of clay soldiers and animals!

These figures are one third the size of the Qin warriors and unlike them, once had colorful silk attire and movable wooden limbs that have long since disintegrated! Another distinct difference between the two sites is the the absence of jostling hordes of tourists that makes for a more intimate viewing.

Han Yangling Museum, Xian
Close up of soldiers missing their wooden limbs.

With its softly lit trenches, the limbless naked figures with their gentle smiling faces, and the reverent hush that pervades the space, this special museum seems a fitting tribute to a benevolent emperor who ushered in peace and revived cultural freedom after the repressive regime of Qin.

Located just 40 km from the center of town towards the airport, Han Yangling Museum, in my opinion, should be an unmissable part of any Xian itinerary.

Until next time…happy travels, no matter where life takes you!

Posted by

Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

66 thoughts on “The Underground Army Of Han Yangling

  1. We went to see the Terracotta Army when a part of it visited Toronto. The exhibition was fascinating and interesting (of course I am one of those people who read those little bits that are displayed in front of every item).

  2. Such an amazing museum,,,interesting…i would like to visit this place..its a once a life time opportunity.Thanks for sharing this.

  3. We saw the Terra Cotta army in Xian, and knew nothing of this sight and museum. I’m sorry we missed it, and am glad for the photo essay. ~James

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.