Greek Influences on China's First Empire ?

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,379
Australia
I was watching a doco last night on The Great Tomb, 'terracotta warriors', etc .

It was postulated that the influence of Geek statuary inspired the form of the terracotta warriors, as this form seems to have appeared all of a sudden in China with no predecessor.

They thought the Chinese Empire and the Greek expansion in Central Asia bought them close enough together, and therefore, thought that the 'Silk Road' (contact between China and the west) existed earlier than thought .

They even suggested Greek sculptors worked on the terracotta warriors ? And tried some skull analysis on finds around the tomb ( with unconvincing results IMO ) .

What are your views on this ?

Mine is that if this was the influence, then all it would take would be a large Greek statue, eventually turning up in eastern China. It does not mean Greeks themselves traveled all the way there .
 
Oct 2016
95
3rd planet of the Solar System
I really dont understand why some people think that making a life sized statue 'require' contact with the greek.. I mean anybody could have done it if they really wanted to, the art style of the statues also differ quite significantly from ancient greek style. This whole idea of contact with the greek and the greek helped building the terracota is just very very unconvincing to me
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,379
Australia
Yes, they said they thought this as nothing like it had appeared there before .

But also, there was never a China before, nor an Emperor Chin before ... nor a super huge giant funerary complex before .
 
Jan 2016
591
United States, MO
I read once that White people taught the Chinese about the wheel on David Duke's website.
The wheel was invented in the near east and spread form there. The population that introduced the wheel to china may be the light haired mummies from xinjiang, but we don't know for sure.

The problem with the idea of the terracotta warriors being brought by the greeks lacks any real evidence. Yes, the terracotta warriors do not have much precedent, but as specul8 pointed out, many things about this period were unprecedented.

Also, we have evidence for Hellenistic sculpture influencing Gandharan sculpture, and this spread to China through Buddhist sculpture. We have Buddhist sculpture traditions traveling from Central Asia to East Asia, but these are all post-terracotta warriors. The influence of Greek sculpture reached China and we have evidence for it, but it was through Buddhism and did influence the making of Qin Shihuang's mausoleum
 
Jun 2012
516
I guess inspiration by the Greeks could be possible if China only started making life-size statues based on what they heard about 'Western' civilizations.

It's still speculative but the hypothesis is higher up on the scale of possibilities.
 
Jan 2016
591
United States, MO
I guess inspiration by the Greeks could be possible if China only started making life-size statues based on what they heard about 'Western' civilizations.

It's still speculative but the hypothesis is higher up on the scale of possibilities.
Yes, this is Needham's idea of stimulus diffusion. It is possible, but simply lacks any evidence as of now. Once the first emperor's tomb is finally opened up, we may finally have an answer as to why life-size human sculpture suddenly appeared.
 
May 2016
9
Malaysia
The wheel was invented in the near east and spread form there. The population that introduced the wheel to china may be the light haired mummies from xinjiang, but we don't know for sure.

The problem with the idea of the terracotta warriors being brought by the greeks lacks any real evidence. Yes, the terracotta warriors do not have much precedent, but as specul8 pointed out, many things about this period were unprecedented.

Also, we have evidence for Hellenistic sculpture influencing Gandharan sculpture, and this spread to China through Buddhist sculpture. We have Buddhist sculpture traditions traveling from Central Asia to East Asia, but these are all post-terracotta warriors. The influence of Greek sculpture reached China and we have evidence for it, but it was through Buddhism and did influence the making of Qin Shihuang's mausoleum
Bhuddha haven’t even been born yet at that era.. wait I stand corrected bhuddism haven’t even spread yet and Confucianism haven’t even been sperad yet, I believe the first emperor believe in humanism type of thought then and some shamanism back then.

You have to know during the warring states period back to the Shang people practice live burial, if a man dies, his wife , servants/slaves and some of thier children are to be buried with them,

The first emperor even find it a waste of Human Resources and replaced them with statues instead.
 
Last edited:

Guaporense

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
5,047
Brazil
Yes, this is Needham's idea of stimulus diffusion. It is possible, but simply lacks any evidence as of now. Once the first emperor's tomb is finally opened up, we may finally have an answer as to why life-size human sculpture suddenly appeared.
Isn't our knowledge of that period's sculpture very sparse so that we really don't know the evolution of sculpture in ancient China? The terracota army was dug up a few decades ago so I wonder if we dig more we could find a lot of other similar statues.
 
May 2017
278
China
I read once that White people taught the Chinese about the wheel on David Duke's website.
bullshits. white people mean european people according to white supremacist. and we chinese already know wheel at least during qin dynasty 2.200 years ago, you can see it at the terracotta statue, there is chariot with horse and wheel in it.

the only caucasian ever contact with us chinese are tocharian people, they are indo-iranian people in xinjiang.

and the technic use to made the statue are very different, the material used to made terracotta statue are very different than greek.:deadhorse: