In 1974, Chinese farmers tilling a field in the Xian province discovered the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China and the founder of the Han dynasty. Surrounding the tomb, built in 210 B.C., were more than a thousand life-sized terra cotta figures in the uniforms of cavalrymen, archers and charioteers. Since then, similar "armies" have been found at other excavation sites in the area.
The sculpture-filled burial site and its nearby counterparts will be the focus of a multidisciplinary symposium being held on Sunday, Nov. 16, by the Members of the Yale Art Museums, the joint membership organization of the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art . The group provides support for educational and community outreach programs at the two museums.
The symposium will take place 1-4:30 p.m. in the lecture hall of the British Art Center, 1080 Chapel St. A reception will follow at Jonathan Edwards College,
68 High St. The fee for the symposium is $30 for members of the Yale Art Museums and $35 for nonmembers. Students with valid I.D. will be admitted free of charge to the lectures. For further information or to make a reservation, call 432-9658.
The symposium participants will be:
* O. Louis Mazzatenta, senior editor emeritus of National Geographic magazine and the first non-Chinese national to photograph the excavation sites. His article, "A Chinese Emperor's Army for Eternity," about the tomb of Han emperor Jingdi, appeared in the magazine in 1992. His talk topic will be "Photographing China's Incredible Terra Cotta Army."
* Richard Barnhart, the John M. Schiff Professor of the History of Art and author of dozens of articles and 11 books on aspects of Chinese art -- including, most recently, "Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting," published by Yale University Press. He will discuss the tombs from an art history viewpoint in "The Mystery of China's Underground Army."
* Anne Underhill, assistant professor of anthropology and assistant curator of anthropology at the Peabody Museum of Natural History. A specialist in the archaeology of East Asia, Professor Underhill has been involved in excavation projects in China, British Columbia, Israel and Europe. Her talk, "The Terra Cotta Soldiers from a Comparative Perspective," will consider the tomb in light of other burial sites from the same period in China and in other, widely separated cultures.
The closing discussion will be moderated by Valerie Hansen, associate professor of history and director of undergraduate studies at the Council on East Asian Studies, part of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies.