Scientists from the TBU will examine the footwear of the terracotta warriors in China
The team of scientists of the Faculty of Technology at the Tomas Bata University in Zlín under the leadership of the senior lecturer Mr. Petr Hlaváček, MSc., PhD, managed to obtain a research authorization to examine the footwear to be found on the feet of the so-called terracotta warriors in China. The mission of 4 scientists of the Department of Footwear Engineering and Hygiene is to map in detail the shoe design on the statues of the ancient soldiers. The research team will work on the grant financed by the Ministry of Education till the end of 2006. The research will result in publishing of a catalogue where the dimensions, materials and cuts of the shoes will be exactly specified.
Even though the terracotta army had been meticulously explored by Chinese scientists before, there has not been done any research work on the footwear yet. Mr. P. Hlaváček pointed out: "From our point of view the very fact of all soldiers wearing shoes is remarkable enough because in Europe the first ones to wear shoes were the soldiers of Alexander of Macedon. At this moment already, when we are about to begin our work, I can say that on the soldiers' feet several types of shoes can be found, made of various materials, apparently of textile, felt, leather and the like." In his opinion, it is a great honor for the Czech scientists to have obtained an authorization for exploring the monument inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, because the Chinese hardly ever give similar permissions.
The Terracotta Army, called "the 8th wonder of the world", is an archaeological monument located in the town of Xianyan, the former ancient Chinese capital. It is the world's largest museum. Over the area of 16 000 sq m there are about 8 000 terracotta figures hidden, built in the 2nd century B.C., showing an accurate illustration of the ancient Chinese army. The area containing the figures had been covered by top soil for centuries. Since its discovery in 1973 the monument has been visited by more than 40 millions of people. It is situated near the largest Chinese pyramid, where Qin Shihuang (259-210 B.C.), the founder of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.) is buried.
The figures in the underground area were lined up in a way as if the army was ready to fight. The different groups represent e.g. cavalry, archery or generals. The life-sized statues are shown in various poses and with various facial expressions. As presumed by some archeologists, at least the generals' faces show an authentic appearance.
The specialists of the Department of Footwear Engineering and Hygiene at the Zlín University will at the same time participate in another research to be carried out in China. This research is scheduled to take 2 years and will deal with foot measuring of the diabetic population in China and offer recommendations on their correct footwear.
Mr. Petr Hlaváček, MSc., PhD and senior lecturer, has been devoting himself over a long period of time to the research work on correct footwear especially regarding children and diabetics. He has achieved an enormous success in the field of historical footwear, when his research work concerning the shoes worn by Oetzi the Iceman was inscribed as one of the 100 world's greatest discoveries in 2004.