Of all the accomplishments from this extraordinary period, the unification of China is, without question, the greatest symbol of the Qin dynasty’s power and influence.
Born in a time of turmoil in China's history, known as the Warring States period (475-221 BCE), The First Emperor founded the short-lived Qin dynasty (221-206 BCE). By 221 BC, he merged the seven warring states into one nation and took the name Qin Shihuang, which means First Emperor. He left a legacy of a centralized and bureaucratic state that would be carried onto successive dynasties over the next two millennia.
Prior to his taking the throne, the Qin state had been in existence for over half a century—under the single clan Ying though never under the despotic rule of one individual. The rulers of the State of Qin had gradually expanded their domain of neighboring states over the centuries, but the slow effort culminated in ultimate victory when The First Emperor succeeded—through any means necessary—in uniting the once-divided empire. Many of the objects featured in the exhibition, like bronze ritual and jade artifacts, gold and silver ornaments, and palatial architectural components, illustrate and celebrate the emergence of the Qin State.