Replicas: Manís Fascination With Models

By: James Monahan

Even during the earliest days, man has always been fascinated with replicas of everyday life. In tombs recently unearthed, there have always been replicas the things the person loved in life. These things may be toy horses, toy soldiers, toy weapons and other models of that sort.

The Ancient Egyptians had numerous replicas in their tombs that symbolized the life the dead had once lived. For these people these replicas held not just sentimental value. They held symbolical and religious value as well.

Replicas in the old days were usually created using clay. Potters and craftsmen would form these lumps of earth into various shapes to create mini-statues, toys, pottery, and other models.

Pagan idols were also created this way. The craftsmen would turn clay into pottery that would be worshipped by the fervent followers of whatever religion the craftsman worked for. These gods would often be modeled after human and mystical inspirations and not actual existing objects.

Replicas do not necessarily have to be smaller than the objects they represent. The Ancient Egyptians created gigantic monuments throughout their land. These monuments were modeled after great pharaohs and kings. Some of these monuments can be up to a hundred times the size of a human being.

As time passed by, the replicas these craftsmen created became more and more complicated. Chinese and Hindu craftsmen were noted for delicate replicas made of the Buddha. These replicas were usually made of gold or porcelain.

The greatest example of Chinese craftsmanship in this regard is the terracotta army created for Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, by some accounts, the most powerful man in the world in his day.

This amazing 7,000-man army of life-sized foot soldiers, officers, war chariots and one kneeling archer (the excavation continues and squadrons of archers remain to be found).

It spreads out four abreast in row after row in pits that lay buried for more than 2,000 years under farm fields until discovered in the early 1970's by peasants digging a well.

The kneeling archer, his hands in position to hold his weapons, has become the best known symbol of this remarkable army throughout the world.

Three pits, the largest covering an area the size of a football field and a half, have been roofed and air-conditioned and have become one of the most visited tourism sites in China.

Parapets around the pits allow visitors to look down on the army and on the continuing excavation.

Most of the figures, once painted in life-like colors, are now faded to the warm earthen tones of natural terra-cotta, and most have been cleaned and reassembled as they once were from the rubble of mud and roots that centuries of weather collapsed on to the original army.

Most amazing of all, the figures were sculpted with such skill that individual characteristics, facial features and personalities are discernible in each soldier. The officers may well have been rendered as portraits of actual men.

Today, replicas are created for the sole purpose of the enjoyment of its collectors. There exist many types of replicas of this sort: guns, cars, buildings, cartoon characters, uniforms, ships, war vehicles, and even movie props and costumes.

These replicas even fetch enormous amounts at collectors fairs and auctions.

The skill of todayís craftsmen make creating these replicas much like creating the authentic thing itself.

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James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about replicas.

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