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

Hi, I'm Madhu. Wanderer. Travel blogger. Story teller. Bitten late and hard by the travel bug, I am on a mission to make up for lost time.

66 thoughts on “The Underground Army Of Han Yangling

  1. Wow, this was a great post documenting your exploration of the museum. Your blog is also very well put-together. Your photos are great and your post is very well-written. After reading your post, if I were to visit this part of China, I would definitely try to look up the Han Yangling Museum!

  2. Wow! Definitely something new i’ve learnt today! Didn’t know there’s is an even larger burial site than the Terracotta Army. Fantastic photos. Will comeback for more 🙂

  3. I was in Xian during Feb 2012. I went to Han Yang Ling but my camera couldn’t take as fine a photo as yours did. This mausoleum is fairly new and few tourists make the effort to see it. I was in a tour of Chinese visitors. We had to squeeze in this place, Fa Men Si and Qian Ling all in one day. The impression of the Han era, a very domesticized and peaceful regime is vastly different from the monumental Qin terracotta warrior pits. I’ll go back again.

    1. You should. This site in particular demands quiet contemplation. Such a pity that you were rushed around. That is the primary reason we eschew tour groups when we travel. Appreciate your stopping by to comment at length Lu Pei! Hope to see you around!

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