Beijing (AFP) – New archeological research has shed fresh light on China’s first emperor — creator of the world-famous terracotta army — and his quest for eternal life, state media reported.
A set of wooden slips found in the central province of Hunan contain an executive order from emperor Qin Shihuang for a nationwide search for the elixir of life, along with replies from local governments, according to Xinhua news agency on Sunday.
It cited Zhang Chunlong, a researcher at the provincial institute of archaeology, as saying the emperor’s decree reached even frontier regions and remote villages.
Qin Shihuang’s obsession with eternal life was well-known: he was responsible for the massive underground mausoleum in the northern province of Shaanxi filled with nearly 8,000 terracotta soldiers built to protect him in the afterlife.
By studying the 36,000 wooden slips — found in 2002 at the bottom of a well in Hunan — archaeologists have uncovered not only the imperial order to find an “elixir of life”, but also the often embarrassed responses from local authorities who struggled to meet his demands.