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Tickets Now On Sale For ’Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians Of China’s First Emperor’ At National Geographic Museum


WASHINGTON - Tickets are available beginning today for “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor,” a traveling exhibition featuring the largest number of terra cotta figures ever to travel to the United States, on view at the National Geographic Museum from Nov. 19, 2009, through March 31, 2010. The museum will be the final venue of the exhibition’s four-city U.S. tour. The exhibition includes 15 terra cotta figures from the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, who ruled from 221-210 B.C.

Tickets are timed and dated and can be purchased online at the Buy Tickets page of the exhibition Web site, by phone at (202) 857-7700 and at the National Geographic Museum ticket office, 1600 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Ticket prices are $12 for adults; $10 for seniors, students, military personnel and National Geographic members; and $6 for children ages 2-12. A companion audio tour will be available for $5. The exhibition will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesdays until 9 p.m. It will be closed on Dec. 25. For more information, visit

Prices for groups of 10 or more are $8 per ticket, and K-12 school groups are $6 per person with one free adult ticket for each group of 10 students. For more information on group sales, call (202) 857-7281.

“We’re excited to offer our visitors the opportunity to stand face-to-face with the terra cotta warriors, one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century,” said Susan Norton, director of the National Geographic Museum. “We’ll be more than doubling our current gallery space in order to accommodate this incredible collection of artifacts.”

The exhibition offers an in-depth look at the First Emperor’s enormous tomb complex that contained thousands of terra cotta warriors intended to protect him in the afterlife. The exhibition showcases 15 life-size terra cotta figures representing soldiers, archers, acrobats and animals, and 100 sets of objects, including stone armor, weapons and bronze vessels.

The terra cotta warriors were discovered in 1974 by a group of farmers digging a well near Xi’an in Shaanxi province. When archaeologists began excavating the area, they uncovered a subterranean vault containing fragments of thousands of terra cotta figures in three large pits. More than 1,000 life-size figures have been restored as part of the site’s ongoing excavation.

Emperor Qin Shihuangdi was one of the most important political leaders to rule China over the past 2,000 years. After defeating six neighboring warring states, he declared himself emperor of the unified territory in 221 B.C. and instituted new policies that paved the way for China’s development as a nation.

Construction of his tomb took 36 years and began soon after he became ruler of the state of Qin at age 13. The tomb complex is estimated to extend more than 19 square miles. The terra cotta figures were created in an assembly-line fashion, and molds were used to mass-produce hands, heads and ears. Craftsmen sculpted individual armor details and facial features by hand. No two faces are alike.

The National Geographic Museum is working with Destination DC and Cultural Tourism DC to coordinate a city-wide celebration with hotel packages, themed promotions with area restaurants, including Mie N Yu and TenPenh, and related cultural programming.

In support of the exhibition, National Geographic has published a companion book, “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor,” by Jane Portal, and exhibit-related merchandise will be available online and in the National Geographic Museum store. A teacher’s guide is available online via the For Teachers page at Themed National Geographic Live! programs and free film screenings will be offered during the exhibition’s run. An interactive game will be available for free at several stations in the museum. Additionally, in the fall a virtual-world “Terra Cotta Warriors” game will be available for free to support the exhibition.

“Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor” is supported by Viking River Cruises. UPS is the exclusive Global Delivery Partner of the exhibition. Washington, D.C.’s Loews Madison Hotel is the Official Hotel Partner of the National Geographic Museum.

The exhibition began its U.S. tour at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Calif., in May 2008. The same collection of objects then visited the High Museum of Art in Atlanta from November 2008 through April 2009, under a different title and curatorial framework. “Terra Cotta Warriors” will be at the Houston Museum of Natural Science from May 22 to Oct. 16, 2009, before opening at the National Geographic Museum on Nov. 19, 2009.

The exhibition is co-organized by the Bowers Museum, Houston Museum of Natural Science and the National Geographic Museum, and guest curator Dr. Albert E. Dien, professor emeritus, Stanford University. The objects in the exhibition were drawn from 11 different collections in and near Xi’an, China, including the Museum of the First Emperor’s Terracotta Army and Horses, Shaanxi Provincial Institute for Archaeological Research, the Zhouzhi Museum, Baoji Museum, Xianyang Museum, Lintong Museum, Fengxiang Museum, Chencang Museum, Xi’an Institute for Archaeological Research and Protection, Baoji Archaeological Excavation Team and Xianyang Institute for Archaeological Research.

The National Geographic Museum, located at 1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., features a variety of changing exhibitions as well as permanent and interactive displays that reflect the richness and diversity of our world. The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. National Geographic reflects the world through its magazines, television programs, films, music and radio, books, DVDs, maps, exhibitions, live events, school publishing programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic magazine, the Society’s official journal, published in English and 31 local-language editions, is read by more than 40 million people each month. The National Geographic Channel reaches 305 million households in 34 languages in 165 countries. National Geographic Digital Media receives more than 12 million visitors a month. National Geographic has funded more than 9,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program combating geography illiteracy. For more information, visit


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