When you visit the Terracotta Army (兵马俑 bīngmǎyǒng) in west China’s Xi’an, you will feel amazed by the grandeur of the innumerable clay soldiers and horses, which were buried with China’s first emperor Qinshihuang to accompany him to the afterlife. In people’s mind, these terracotta sculptures look vivid and lifelike, but the grayness is boring and lifeless.

Did you know, however, that these gray funerary statues were actually brightly colored when they were first made? The terracotta figures were colored after being fired by craftsmen in Qin Dynasty, but unfortunately, the paint adhering to the surface fell off and turned gray in a few minutes after being unearthed, as a result of water loss and a lack of effective preservation technology.

But now, Baidu has teamed up with Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum to revive the visuals of these ancient relics with augmented reality (AR) technology. On May 18, Baidu launched its AR rendition of the Terracotta Army, restoring them to their bright coloring. Baidu’s AR offerings encompass the Terracotta Pit No.2, kneeling archers, and bronze chariots and horses.

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Sheila Yu

Sheila Yu is a Shanghai-based technology writer. She brings readers the biggest news from Chinese language tech media. Reach her at sheila@technode.com.