The famous Terracotta Warriors are coming to the North West in 2018 – and people from the Chester area won't have too far to go to see them.
In what is a huge coup for the region, the Chinese figures will be on show at Liverpool's World Museum – the only place you will be able to see them in the UK.
It is the first time in three decades that the spectacular Class 1 National Cultural Treasures from the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, will have been seen in a UK museum outside London.
The news was announced in China today by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who was visiting the First Emperor’s burial site at Xi’an.
She said: “The Terracotta Army represents one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century, and I’m delighted that a selection of the warriors will be coming to Liverpool for the first time in 2018.
“I’m sure the exhibition will be very warmly received by the people of Merseyside and beyond as Britain welcomes back the Terracotta Warriors.
“It will also encourage an ongoing cultural exchange between China and Britain, further progressing the relationship between our two nations and strengthening lasting ties.”
The Warriors will be on show at the William Brown Street museum between February and October 2018 in a paid-for exhibition. The exhibition will span 500 years and include some objects that have never been on show in this country before.
It is the latest major event to be announced for 2018, which marks 10 years since Liverpool was European Capital of Culture.
Discussions are also under way for the return of the Giants in a link-up between Liverpool and Wirral, as well as the return of Tall Ships to the Mersey.
The year will also see the 30th anniversary of Tate Liverpool and the 20th of the Liverpool Biennial.
Qin Shihuangdi’s huge burial site and tomb complex was discovered near Xi’an in North West China in 1974.
The story of the tomb’s Terracotta Warriors will be displayed alongside important artifacts and research relating to the formative years of the Chinese nation, from the pre-unification Qin Kings (307 to 221 BC) to the First Emperor’s legacy in the Han Dynasty (206BC to 220AD).
National Museums Liverpool director David Fleming said: “Following the success of our Mayas exhibition in 2015, and the re-opening of our Ancient Egypt gallery in 2017, this is a significant time for World Museum and National Museums Liverpool.
“It’s really important we stay in healthy dialogue with our international colleagues.
“An exhibition of this scale is sure to attract visitors from all over the UK and Europe, with an unmissable opportunity to see artifacts of great historical importance in the flesh.”
Since 1974, archaeologists have unearthed more than 8,000 life-sized Terracotta Warriors near Xi’an, each with individual clothing, hair and facial features.
The Terracotta Warriors will be at World Museum Liverpool from February to October 2018.