After more than 2,000 years spent slumbering underneath the ground, Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Army has finally awoken and is ready to do battle with the swelling number of copycats that threaten its very prosperity.
The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor in Xi’an recently announced that it was planning to sue a pair of knockoff Terracotta Armies on display in Anhui province and Belgium.
The Anhui army was proudly unveiled earlier this month. While it costs 150 yuan to see the real terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of China’s first emperor that were made to protect him in the afterlife, it only costs a mere 120 yuan to view thousands of full-scale facsimiles at the scenic spot in Anhui’s Taihu county.
Despite marketing the “realism” of the fake warriors, the park has rejected charges that it is profiting by infringing on the original warriors’ “intellectual property rights.”
“We arrange these statues differently from the real ones in Shaanxi Province, and add some other decorations to the overall layout, like slogans. We have never advertised our statues as being like those in Shaanxi,” Yin Zhaoping, the CEO of the Five Thousand Fair Park explained.
Meanwhile, the terracotta army in Belgium is on display at Liege train station as part of an exhibition “Terracotta Warriors – The Army of the First Emperor of China,” which apparently relates the story of the army’s rediscovery in 1974 and includes “over 250 perfectly executed” replicas.
For its part, the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor alleges that there are no signs to explain to tourists that the “shoddy” statues are in fact fakes.
Recently, the Terracotta Army has been on the warpath. Last month, several platoons of fake Terracotta Warriors were smashed to bits in Xi’an in a crackdown against misleading museums and trickster tour guides. On trips to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Army, tourists are often strongly encouraged to visit other less notable sights, like the “Eighth Wonder Museum” which features Terracotta Warriors with red lipstick and double eyelids.
In the past, we’ve also seen an all-female army:
One made out of pizza dough:
And another out of chocolate.
Still, it is just a bit ironic that a Chinese tourist site is raising a fuss over replicas. China is home to a number of infamous tourist sites featuring knockoff versions of famous world landmarks that have upset other nations in the past.
Back in 2014, a copy-Sphinx suddenly appeared in a field outside of Shijiazhuang city in Hebei province. The Egyptian Ministry of State Antiquities quickly filed a complaint with UNESCO, arguing that the 30-meter-high and 60-meter-long replica was not only inaccurate (being made of steel bars and cement), but it would also have a negative effect on Egypt’s tourism industry.
Three years later, the Great Sphinx of Shijiazhuang was beheaded without explanation.
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