The Great Solipsist: Reading the First Emperor

Tony Lynch


The question of the First Emperor’s extraordinary achievements is posed by looking at a suggestion that emerges from a reading of the Terracotta Warriors as portraits of real warriors. The idea is that the Terracotta Warriors reveal a tight knit state-building cadre, whose honouring of the Emperor rested on his honouring them in return. This suggestion founders on the demonstrable implausibility of the portraiture premise. Instead, a reading is offered of the terracotta warriors and the great mausoleum in which they are placed to present the Emperor, his life and state-building policies, in terms of his solipsism.



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