Visitors look at one of the Terracotta Warriors on show at the Terracotta Warrior Museum in Xian in north China's Shaanxi province, October 21.
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Silent and enigmatic, China's emblematic Terracotta Warriors are at the center of a bitter row, with patriots and scholars dismissing as impossible theories they could have been inspired by Greek sculpture. The 8,000-man clay army, crafted around 250 B.C. for the tomb of China's first emperor Qin Shihuang, is a UNESCO world heritage site, a major tourist draw and a symbol of ancient Chinese artistic and military sophistication in a country that proclaims itself a 5,000-year-old civilization.After the documentary aired, some blasted the BBC and wondered how the Greeks could have impacted ancient China.Ma Dongling, from Guangxi, said inspiration could not have come from abroad as China was "very innovative" at the time.For evidence Nickel points to historical records suggesting the first Qin emperor made casts of huge bronze statues seen in China's far west, realistic detailing of muscle and bone on some figures, and the absence of an extensive prior sculptural tradition in China."When I look at the map of Eurasia, what the Chinese do fits perfectly in the big picture".Basing theories about transmission of cultural ideas on stylistic similarities in objects fails to convince some Chinese scholars, he acknowledged.
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