Britain's football city Liverpool has set the goal of being regarded as a cultural destination with the help of China's iconic Terracotta Warriors, a move that the authorities expect to boost tourism.
The Warriors will be part of a spectacular exhibition to be held in Liverpool's World Museum in a collaboration between Britain's National Museums Liverpool (NML), China's Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau and the Shaanxi History Museum.
The exhibition will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the fabled Warriors in Liverpool, NML Director David Fleming said as details of the cultural highlight were released Wednesday.
"As home to one of the oldest Chinese communities in Europe, Liverpool is absolutely the right place for this exhibition," Fleming said. "We are hugely excited to be working with our museum colleagues in China to bring a collection of (the) Warriors, and many other significant historical discoveries to the UK."
More than 180 spectacular artifacts from museums across Shaanxi will be showcased at the World Museum. Over half of these exhibits have never been displayed in Britain before.
The landmark exhibition tells the story of the formative years of the Chinese nation, from the Qin kings who ruled before the unification of the warring states into modern China in the 3rd century B.C.,to China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang's rise to power and the legacy of his achievements in the succeeding Han Dynasty.
The exhibits will also include a life-size terracotta horse and objects from the emperor's vast burial complex, which are a testimony to ancient Chinese lifestyle and the economic prosperity of the empire.
The NML announced that tickets for the exhibition will go on sale on November 9. It is expecting sell-out crowds at the event, to be held from February 9 to October 28 next year.
Calling the Terracotta Warriors one of the wonders of ancient China, British Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said bringing a selection of the models to Liverpool is a fantastic achievement that will benefit the whole country.
"This incredible exhibition will undoubtedly boost tourism to the city and attract visitors from across the UK and Europe to see China's greatest national treasure," she added.
James Lin, an expert in early Chinese material culture from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, who is also the guest curator of the exhibition, said, "China's first emperor and the Terracotta Warriors promise to be an extraordinary exhibition, exploring the fascinating pursuit of immortality."
The Terracotta Warriors are full-size statues that are part of a baked earth army sculpted by artisans for decades so that they could be buried with the first emperor of China and serve him in his afterlife.
The mausoleum site in Xi'an, a city in northwestern China where the statues were excavated, along with clay chariots and horses, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is now part of the Shaanxi History Museum.
The Liverpool event is a highlight of celebrations across Liverpool next year to mark the 10th anniversary of it being declared the "European capital of culture" in 2008.