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Titans Host Terracotta Warrior

MLK Cheerleaders and new superintendent Jason Kamras pose with the terracotta warrior


On November 18, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts premiered Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China. To promote the exhibition, VMFA deployed its own army of eight life-size replicas of terracotta soldiers in public spaces throughout Richmond and the Commonwealth in the VMFA Warriors March. Presented by the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, each replica stands more than 6 feet tall and weighs nearly 500 pounds.

One warrior replica stands sentinel at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Richmond’s East End. MLK is the only school in Virginia that will host a replica terracotta warrior.

This is a symbol of both the longstanding relationship between Richmond Public Schools and VMFA, a world-class cultural destination with an encyclopedic collection of art. It also serves as a symbol of the budding relationship between VMFA and Turnaround Arts: Richmond, a partner of Turnaround Arts: National. VMFA provided the replica to actively engage MLK’s students and foster interest in world history, art, and archaeology. 

The Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China Educator’s Resource Guide—available on the VMFA website—is available to help teachers address that interest with rich content for classroom discussions and activities. Additionally, VMFA has included Turnaround Arts: Richmond in ARTshare, an ongoing initiative to expand opportunities for the museum to share its collection through digital learning and outreach, distance learning programs, a growing body of online resources and in-gallery interactives.

Seeing a terracotta warrior replica in the school’s entrance and studying ancient China in the classroom may inspire MLK Middle families to plan a visit to VMFA. A great time for these students and all of Richmond to visit VMFA is this Saturday, February 10, as VMFA celebrates ChinaFest: Year of the Earth Dog.

About the Terracotta Army exhibition:

The exhibition brings together 130 objects from 14 museums and archaeological institutes in China’s Shaanxi Province. In addition to decorative objects, weaponry, vessels, coins and more, the exhibition includes 10 life-size terracotta figures from Qin Shihuang’s mausoleum complex, one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century. The exhibition is the first to bring terracotta army figures to Virginia and runs through March 11 at VMFA.