Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China

April 20, 2018–August 12, 2018


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The exhibition will feature approximately 120 individual objects, which include Terracotta figures of warriors, arms and armor, ritual bronze vessels, works in gold and silver, jade ornaments, precious jewelry, and ceramics, all drawn from the collections of art museums and archaeological institutes in Shaanxi province, China. Dating from the Pre-Qin period (770–221 BC) to the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC), these works of art, excavated from the emperor’s mausoleum, as well as aristocratic and nomadic tombs, will represent history, myths, and burials in ancient China.

The exhibition will explore the following themes: the birth of the Qin empire and cultural diversity in ancient China; the First Emperor and unified China; and the quest for immortality. Through presenting rich archaeological finds, the exhibition will provide a glimpse into the ongoing excavations and research, which continue to shed new light on the Qin culture and the First Emperor’s burial complex.

Exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Cincinnati Art Museum, in partnership with Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, Shaanxi Provincial History Museum, Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, and Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum of the People’s Republic of China.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. 

More Information

Art Palace Podcast

Episode 42: Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China

One of our docents, Helen Rindsberg, takes Russell on a tour of the new special exhibition, Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China


Family First Saturday: Explore China | May 5, 2018 | 12–4 p.m.

Families can come explore the culture and history of China at this free, fun day inspired by our special exhibition, Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China. Enjoy scavenger hunt, visits from local artists, hands-on art-making, performances and much more. FREE.


Fourth Annual Cincinnati Asian Art Society Lecture: Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China | May 6, 2018 | 2 p.m.

Li Jian, Curator of Asian Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Hou-mei Sung, Curator of Asian Art at Cincinnati Art Museum, will discuss the birth of the Qin Empire and cultural diversity of ancient China, the First Emperor, and the artworks that represent the history, myths and burials of ancient China. A reception will follow the lecture in the Castellini Room. FREE. Reservations Recommended.


Evenings for Educators | May 17, 2018 | 4–7 p.m.

Hear from members of the curatorial staff about the Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China. Jointly organized by the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Heritage Promotion Center and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, this exhibition will feature a variety of artworks from sculpture, ceramics, bronzes, and jade. After the presentation enjoy docent-guided gallery tours including museum teacher stations showcasing lesson plan ideas inspired by these works.


Artist Workshop: Clay Figures | May 19, 2018 | 1–3 p.m.

Workshop attendees will get the chance to experience Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China and create figures of their own out of clay. 


Memories in the Museum | June 6, 2018 | 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

This program is designed for visitors with memory loss and their guests. FREE. Reservations required. Space is limited. For reservations please contact the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati at 1-800-272-3900.


Summer Camp: Archaeology Adventure | July 9–13, 2018 

Travel through time and space to visit ancient cultures. Our junior archaeologists will “dig up” artifacts from ancient Egypt, Rome, and the Near East, and make art inspired by what they find.


Summer Camp: Clay Creations | July 23–27, 2018 

Sculpt, squish and pinch clay into cool 3-D art. See how artists are using this classic material today and learn about traditional pottery tools such as the potter’s wheel.

Parking is FREE in Museum lots; Museum members have the benefit of preferred parking. View Area Map

Accessible Parking is available in our east parking lot, just past the main visitor parking lot and entrance.

Wheelchair & Stroller Entry is available via our DeWitt Entrance, on the east side of the museum, near the accessible parking.

Click here for more information on directions to the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Organized with the generous support of the Harold C. Schott Foundation

 Presented by:



John and Dorothy Hermanies Fund

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation


Elizabeth Tu Hoffman Huddleston 

The Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation 

Charles Scott Riley III Foundation

The Sutphin Family Foundation

National Endowment for the Arts

Josephine Schell Russell Charitable Trust, PNC Bank, Trustee

The Louise H. and David S. Ingalls Foundation