The Terracotta Warriors will be returning to the UK in 2018, in an exhibition to be staged at Liverpool’s World Museum.
It will be the first time in more than 30 years that the treasures from the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuangdi (221 to 206 BC), will be brought to a museum in the UK outside London.
The exhibition was announced by culture secretary Karen Bradley during her visit to the emperor’s burial site and tomb complex near Xi’an, as part of the UK-China People to People Dialogue (P2P), which is celebrating links between the two countries.
She said: “The Terracotta Army represents one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century, and I am delighted that a selection of the warriors will be coming to Liverpool, for the first time in 2018.
“I am sure that the exhibition will be very warmly received by the people of Merseyside and beyond as Britain welcomes back the Terracotta Warriors.
“The exhibition will also encourage an ongoing cultural exchange between China and Britain, further progressing the relationship between our two nations and strengthening lasting ties.”
David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool, said: “Following the success of our Mayas exhibition in 2015, and the re-opening of our Ancient Egypt gallery in 2017, this is a significant time for World Museum and National Museums Liverpool.
“An exhibition of this scale is sure to attract visitors from all over the UK and Europe, with an unmissable opportunity to see artefacts of great historical importance in the flesh.
“Liverpool has the oldest Chinese community in Europe, and we are proud to be strengthening the city’s connections with other cultural organisations in China and creating an exhibition programme that continues to excite and inspire visitors from across the globe.”
Since 1974, archaeologists have unearthed more than 8,000 life-sized Terracotta Warriors near Xi’an – each with individual clothing, hair and facial features – and have located more than 600 pits around the Emperor’s mausoleum, covering an area of 22 square miles.
World Museum’s Terracotta Warriors exhibition will run from February to October 2018, as part of Liverpool’s 2018 celebrations, marking 10 years since the city held the title of European Capital of Culture 2008.
Pictured from left: Sharon Granville, National Museum Liverpool; Hou Ningbin, Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses; Karen Bradley; and Zhao Rong, Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau.