In 1974 an entire army was discovered buried in a huge mausoleum constructed for the First Emperor of China. The site, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is still being excavated and was truly a chance discovery of epic and incredible proportions. But it's in China.
Lucky London, then, as twelve of Emperor Qin Shihuang's life-like and life-sized underground warriors have crossed continents to form the centrepiece of a major new British Museum exhibition which opens on 13 September.
Other life-sized figures will also feature, including "acrobats, bureaucrats, musicians and bronze birds". The Emperor needed quite a bit of entertaining as well as protection, it seems. If he's still on his afterlife journey, he must be well miffed we're reclaiming all his minions.
Still, his loss is our gain and we can't wait to see what the Museum does with the figures. Keep your fingers crossed for a complicated arrangement of smoke and mirrors in an attempt to replicate the full scale army in the genteely, unfamiliar surroundings of the fabulous Reading Room.
The exhibition opens on 13 September and runs till April 2008. For more information and to book tickets visit the British Museum website.
Image courtesy of ironmanixs' Flickrstream.