The famed Terracotta Warriors have stood as silent sentries in China’s Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor for hundreds of years. The army of statues, numbering in the thousands, is testament of the forces the first emperor of China had at his command. They have been the subject of intrigue from scholars all over the world and countless visitors to China have been cowed by the stoicism of the stone army. Now the soldiers are coming to life with the help of mobile technology.
The Asian Civilizations Museum (ACM) of Singapore has an exhibit devoted to the terracotta army, called Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His Legacy. The exhibit has detailed the history of the army and examined why Emperor Qin Shi Huang would enlist such soldiers to populate his final resting place. The Museum is bringing their exhibit to life through the use of augmented reality.
ACM have launched the Terracotta Warriors application for mobile phones. The app will be used to bring the museum’s 10 terracotta figures to life. Visitors will be directed through a virtual tour, the narrative of which is provided by Li Si, the Prime Minister and architect of the Qin Empire. Walking through the exhibit, visitors will be able to interact with the stone soldiers in a variety of way. The soldiers will also interact with each other, a fairly sophisticated feat accomplished with AR.
Allowing people to see history with their own eyes has always been one of the primary purposes of museums. Bringing that history to life through technology, however, is something no other museum has ever done before.