Institute of Archaeology


Patrick Quinn on the potters who shaped the Terracotta Army

15 May 2018

Patrick Quinn has recently returned from a research trip to China as part of the collaborative 'Imperial Logistics: the Making of the Terracotta Army' project where he undertook non-invasive portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry on the terracotta warriors.

Patrick Quinn on the potters who shaped the Terracotta Army

The aim of this aspect of the research project is to examine geochemical compositional patterning that may be suggestive of the organisation of production behind the manufacture of the c. 7000 figures and in particular the existence of several workshops working in tandem on the project, which is suggested by the presence of stamps and other markings.

This research is a continuation of Patrick's work which was recently published in Antiquity and received media coverage in the Times newspaper. It forms part of the collaborative project 'Imperial Logistics: the Making of the Terracotta Army' between the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum which has been accorded British Academy Research Project status for another 5-year period and comprises of research by Marcos Martinón-Torres, Andrew Bevan, Janice Li as well as Patrick Quinn at the Institute.

This particular research trip involved Patrick and several colleagues from Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum including Yang Ying, Shangxin Zhang, Li Xiuzhen and Xia Yin.

Read more

Quinn, P. S., Zhang, S., Yin, X. and Li, X. 2017. Building the Terracotta Army: Ceramic Craft Technology and Organisation of Production at Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Complex, China. Antiquity, 91: 966-979.

Further details