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January 14, 2010

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'Bronze chariot' Expo-bound?

THE secret "national treasure" exhibit in the China Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 might be the "Bronze Chariot and Horse" sculpture, the most precious centerpiece of the terracotta soldiers of China's Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), a senior official of Shaanxi Province said yesterday.

The province is ready to send the sculpture to the Expo, but is waiting for the final approval of the State Council, the country's Cabinet, which will oversee exhibitions of the China Pavilion, Liu Ajin, director of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shaanxi Sub-council, told Shanghai Daily.

The well-preserved sculpture, among the top national treasures of China, is believed to be a copy of the personal carriage of the First Emperor of Qin, who in 221 BC unified China for the first time.

The work, four horses drawing a chariot steered by an armed warrior, is about one meter tall and three meters long. The 1,200 kilogram sculpture is half size of what the emperor used in Qin.

Two "Bronze Chariot and Horse" sculptures were unearthed in 1980 among the terracotta soldiers in Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province.

They were colorfully painted. More than 4,000 gold and silver parts were attached to each of them as decorations.

It is believed the emperor took this style of chariot on five tours around his kingdom. The works are now stored in the Xi'an Terracotta Museum.

A secret "national treasure" will be exhibited in the 160,000-square-meter China Pavilion as the centerpiece to attract visitors, according to the organizer of the Expo.

To build suspense, the organizer has said it won't reveal anything before the opening of the China Pavilion on May 1.

Shaanxi will bring another four relics of the Zhou (1045 BC to 256 BC), Qin, Han (206 BC-220 AD) and Tang (618-907 AD) dynasties, Liu said.

The province has not decided on those culture relics, but promised they will be "heavyweight" exhibits.

The province will duplicate a terracotta soldier sculpture holding hands with Haibao, the Expo mascot, he said.


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