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June 5, 2019

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Terracotta souvenirs bring history to life for young

China’s iconic terracotta warriors have been redesigned and 3D-printed as comic-style miniature souvenirs.

They are available through a Taobao online store that was set up by the staff of the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum.

Discovered in 1974, the terracotta army is one of China’s biggest tourist attractions, located in northwest Shaanxi Province. It was built by Emperor Qinshihuang of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).

The miniatures are based on real figures of a general, a kneeling archer and a charioteer.

According to the design team, the general is made to look brave. He holds a banner in his hand that can be engraved with DIY words drafted by customers.

The archer’s quiver is made to hold toothpicks and the empty hands of the charioteer are designed to hold pens.

The designs are aimed to appeal to the increasing number of young visitors.

“We found that a number of visitors, especially young people, wished to take souvenirs with them when leaving the attraction,” said Zhang Jintao, head of the cultural industry department of the museum. Zhang said letting young people bring a piece of history home will help impress them with Chinese culture and history and spread the reputation of the museum as well.

In recent years, Chinese museums are increasingly embracing new methods of promotion.

The Palace Museum in Beijing sells its cultural products on Taobao. Last year, a video featuring artifacts from seven Chinese museums went viral on the social media platform TikTok, also known as Douyin.

Cao Teng, the designer of the 3D-printed terracotta army, said modern technology and attractive designs will help museums pass on cultural heritage to the next generation.

“We want to let people feel the history when they see these adorable soldiers on the desk,” Cao said.


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