Eugene Wang | What Was the Terracotta Army For? || Radcliffe Institute | Summary and Q&A

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June 9, 2017
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Eugene Wang | What Was the Terracotta Army For? || Radcliffe Institute

TL;DR

The terracotta army and the First Emperor's tomb in China hold deeper symbolic meanings related to the seasonal cycle, breath energy, and the conjugation of yin and yang forces.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ’— The terracotta army is not meant for military action but symbolizes the growing yang energy of the spring season and conveys a message of peace.
  • πŸ‘· The absence of helmets and the storage of helmets separately indicate a state of peace in the land.
  • ☯️ The acrobatic figures near the tomb represent the growing yin energy and the harmony of yin and yang forces.
  • πŸ’— The cauldron and acrobats are interconnected and signify the vital ecology of the body and the incorporation of growing yin and growing yang energies.
  • 🎨 The tomb complex is designed to simulate the circulation and harmonization of breath energy.
  • πŸ’ Heaven is not a static concept in early Chinese cosmology but represents a flow of energy in all directions.

Transcript

  • Now, let me state what I'm going to do. The big question I'm trying to get at is this. What do we mean when we say the "flight to heaven" in early China? What is heaven? Is there really "up there" there? So the best case to state this issue is the following. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] - In 1974, some farmers digging a new well in the shadow of a strange hi... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the main purpose of the terracotta army and its significance?

The terracotta army is a representation of the growing yang energy and serves as a symbol of defense but not for military purposes. It conveys a message of peace in the land and the absence of the need for military action.

Q: Why are the helmets of the terracotta warriors stored separately?

The helmets are stored separately as a deliberate action to emphasize peace. By keeping the helmets away from the warriors, it signifies that there is no need for military action.

Q: What is the relationship between the cauldron and the acrobats?

The cauldron and the acrobats represent the growing yin and growing yang energies, respectively. They are interconnected and signify the vital ecology of the body and the incorporation of these energies for the sustenance of life.

Q: How does the concept of breath energy relate to the tomb and the terracotta army?

Breath energy is a key component in the Chinese understanding of individual body and its post-mortem existence. The presence of the terracotta army and the layout of the tomb complex are part of a larger cosmological model demonstrating the circulation and harmonization of breath energy.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The terracotta army, originally believed to be for defensive purposes, is actually a representation of the growing yang energy associated with the spring season.

  • The absence of helmets on the terracotta warriors and the presence of helmets stored separately symbolize a state of peace and no need for military action.

  • The acrobatic figures found near the tomb represent the growing yin energy associated with the autumn season, bringing together the forces of yin and yang.

  • The cauldron and the acrobats are interconnected, signifying the vital ecology of the body and the incorporation of growing yin and growing yang energies.

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