Beginning this November 19th, the National Geographic Museum will be hosting one of the West’s largest all-time exhibitions of sculptures and artifacts recovered from what the museum’s curators have dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world”: the Terra Cotta Army of unified China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

Since being unearthed in 1974, archaeologists have puzzled over the more 8,000 sculptures of soldiers, archers, charioteers and artifacts buried alongside the beguiling ruler. Not only are they remarkably well-preserved for two thousand year old pieces of baked ceramic, but each bares it own unique set of features and holds a specific rank and station in the otherworldly army of the Qin Dynasty.

Nat Geo’s exhibition, entitled “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor”, will feature fifteen of the incredible figures themselves, along with sundry weapons, armor and other relics recovered from the remote, United Nations-protected excavation site in central China. According to museum reps, this is largest exhibit of the Terracotta Army to ever travel to the US. A similar showcase just two years at London’s British Museum brought in the most visitors since the unveiling of King Tut in 1972.

The exhibit will be open daily from 10 am to 6 pm (and until 9 pm on Wednesdays) through March 31, 2010. Tickets are $12 a piece and can be purchased in advance here.

For other great museums in the metro area, check our list here or keep up with the CultureMob blog on Twitter.

Culture "Eighth Wonder of the World" Coming to National Geographic