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Terracotta Warriors Safe After Chile Earthquake

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Chinese relics, including some of the famed terracotta warriors, on display in Chile since December have survived the quake that rocked the South American country on Feb. 27.

"All the terracotta warriors are intact, and only one item fell, but was not damaged," said Pang Yani, head of Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Heritage Exchange Center.

Anti-quake measures were taken before the quake given Chile is prone to earthquakes, Pang said.

"It is still unknown which piece toppled, except that it was a pottery figurine of the Hang Dynasty. But we were assured that it was not a terracotta warrior," said Zhang Tong with Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau.

The exhibition "Ancient China and the Terracotta Army", held in the La Moneda Palace in Chile's capital, Santiago, from Dec. 3 to late April, is to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Chile and the 40th anniversary of the forging of diplomatic relations with China.

The 8.8-magnitude earthquake has claimed at least 795 lives in Chile.

Micaela Thais, of the cultural center of La Moneda Palace, said in an e-mail, "The cultural center will be closed for two days in order to check the exhibition racks and will send a detailed report concerning all the Chinese relics to China."

The 80 exhibition items, including two replicas, are mainly from the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.- 206 B.C.) and Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.).

A possible early return of the relics would be decided after consultations between both sides, said Zhang.

"We have asked the Chilean side to reinforce the racks and take other necessary measures to make sure that the relics are intact in the aftershocks," said Pang.

The terracotta warriors were buried with Qinshihuang, the first emperor of China, in 210-209 B.C. They were discovered in 1974 in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

(Xinhua News Agency March 4, 2010)

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