Terracotta Warriors joined by Golden Horse

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A number of new artefacts set to join Terracotta Warriors at World Museum

As Liverpool prepares itself for the annual Grand National Festival, the landmark 2018 exhibition China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors at Liverpool’s World Museum will reveal some exciting new additions today, including the Golden Horse of Maoling and other items from China’s Han Dynasty, on display in the exhibition until the end of the exhibition’s run on 28 October 2018.

The gilded bronze horse is more than two feet tall and is the largest ever found in China. Discovered at Maoling near the Mausoleum of Emperor Wu, the fifth ruler of the Western Han dynasty, it has been suggested that the burial pit in which the horse was found belonged to Princess Pingyang, who was the elder sister of Emperor Wu.

Fiona Philpott, Director of Exhibitions at National Museums Liverpool, said:

“The horse became a symbol of power, wealth and status for the Chinese after it was domesticated around 6,000 years ago in central Europe and Asia. They were so precious to the great rulers of ancient China that they were buried with them for the afterlife. Liverpool also has a long equestrian history, playing host to the world renowned Grand National Festival since 1839, so the addition of the Golden Horse to the exhibition this week is very apt. 

“The exhibition is doing extremely well, with a huge number of tickets having been sold already, but there’s still availability before the exhibition closes at the end of October, so people can experience the magic of the Terracotta Warriors and the Golden Horse of Maoling while they’re in Liverpool.”

The slender body of the Golden Horse and its muscles suggest it represents one of the finer breeds of horses Emperor Wu imported from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. These tall and beautiful horses were probably the ancestors of a number of modern breeds which are renowned for their speed, endurance and intelligence. They are famous for their shimmering coats, often golden in colour, which led them to be known as ‘golden horses’. Emperor Wu was obsessed with these strong and swift ‘heavenly horses’ and chose to be buried with them, as he believed they could help him defeat the nomadic tribes of the north and also bring him immortality.

As well as the Golden Horse, the exhibition will also welcome two new items. These include a bronze wine heater adorned with intricate patterns of the four Chinese spiritual creatures, as well as a bronze water clock, one of only five in the world. Alongside other items already on display, such as an incense burner, a bronze lamp and a mortar and pestle, these objects offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of citizens in Han Dynasty China.

These items mark an exciting addition to the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at World Museum. Spanning almost 1,000 years, this blockbuster exhibition tells the story of the formative years of the Chinese nation, from the pre-unification Qin Kings, to the rise of the Qin State and unification of China by the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang in 221 BC, followed by the legacy of his achievements in the succeeding Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD).

On display until 28 October 2018, the exhibition gives visitors the chance to see some of the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries, as well as being taken on a magical journey through China’s history, becoming immersed in the world of the Terracotta Warriors. Visitors to the exhibition come face to face with Warriors from the burial complex of the first Emperor, and witness a vast range of other exquisite objects from the Qin and Han dynasties; some of which have never been displayed in the UK before.

Tickets are priced from £14.50 for adults and £5.50 for children aged between 6 and 17 years. Children aged 5 years and under go free and there are a number of additional concessions. National Museums Liverpool members get free unlimited access to the exhibition. Further details of prices and how to book tickets can be found at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/terracottawarriors 

The exhibition is organised by National Museums Liverpool, United Kingdom and the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau and Shaanxi History Museum (Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre), People’s Republic of China.

Exhibition partners include the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Tianjin Airlines, Wendy Wu Tours, The Swire Charitable Trust, Unilever and The Foyle Foundation.  Quilter Cheviot Investment Management, Signature Living and London Stock Exchange Group as well as several individuals are also Terracotta Warrior Partners.

For media enquiries please call 0151 478 4680 or email press@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

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Notes to Editors

Partners of China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition

Tianjin Airlines

Tianjin Airlines is honoured to support the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, and under our banner of ‘All ways with you’, we look forward in the near future to flying visitors directly from the UK to Xi’an to see the First Emperor’s tomb.

Wendy Wu Tours

Wendy Wu Tours is delighted to be the Keynote Partner of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition as the UK’s number one China and Asia travel and tour specialist, and look forward to working with National Museums Liverpool to deliver an exclusive customised tour to Xi’an, Beijing and Shanghai in 2018.

The Swire Charitable Trust

The Swire Charitable Trust is an independent grant making trust and has generously supported the exhibition’s education programme. 


Unilever is proud to be a Major Partner of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, as one of the world’s leading consumer manufacturing companies with a proud history on Merseyside and an expanding market and research base inside China.

The Foyle Foundation

The Foyle Foundation is an independent grant making trust and has generously supported the exhibition and education programme. 

Quilter Cheviot Investment Management

Quilter Cheviot is proud to be a Terracotta Warriors exhibition Partner, as one of the UK’s leading private client focused investment managers with a long history in Merseyside.

About World Museum

Experience the world at your fingertips at World Museum, where millions of years of the Earth’s history are revealed through incredible exhibits and hands-on activities. Find out how humans have shaped the world we inhabit, from Africa to the Americas, Asia and Europe. Explore underwater life in the Aquarium and complete your visit by blasting off on a spectacular journey through space and time as the universe unfolds around you in the Planetarium. World Museum’s Ancient Egypt gallery, which houses one of the finest ancient Egyptian and Nubian collections in Europe, opened in 2017. World Museum was awarded a VisitEngland Gold Accolade for excellence in 2015.

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than 3 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk 

National Museums Liverpool is regulated by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).  Museums and galleries regulated by DCMS are exempt charities under Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011. Registered Office: World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN.