Qin (pronounced Chin) was unique among the long list of Chinese emperors. Not only was he the first to unite all of China under a single ruler, but he also gave his name to that far-flung land. In addition, Qin standardized the language along with weights and measures. However, Qin's real interest laid in building protects. He started the Great Wall and built a vast mausoleum for himself. His mausoleum had eternal lighting to illumine his underground burial spot for eternity. The skeptical may wonder how it was that he imagined that the oil lamps would never burn out. Qin used massive amounts of mermaid fish oil.

In addition to the well-lit tomb, Qin raised an army consisting of 8,000 terra cotta warriors to protect him after death. However, in 1974, two peasants discovered Qin clay soldiers while digging for a well. Qin's burial plot remains unguarded to this day while thousand flock to see his unearthed army.

Today, the Chinese people revered this singular ruler above all the other 300 emperors who attempted to rule China. He was not only an astute leader and military genius, but he also was one of the most ruthless. He wielded great power because of his utter brutality. Often, Qin didn’t administer outright killing because a torturous death was far more effective in controlling the unruly masses. In this same light, he joins a list of Chinese leaders who were ruthless yet admired by the average Chinese-Mao being the last on that long list. Qin and Mao are the alpha and the omega of brutality and despotism while one created China and the other resurrected China.

Qin was remarkable not only when it came to bloodthirstiness; he was equally unique physically. Historians and artists agree that he had very long ears. Those that heard him speak said that he had a voice of a leopard. Tradition also has it that Qin's gestation wasn't the normal 9 months but rather 12 months. Apparently, those additional three months within his mother's placenta caused him to be out of sorts with the world.

Beyond all this, what is truly remarkable is that Qin's final resting spot remains undisturbed even though its location is known. It is large burial plot containing a giant topographical map of China with mountain ranges and river valleys. Qin made sure that every detail of the map was exact. Where there were rivers or seas on his map, Qin pumped mercury to represent running water. The mercury ran continuously because of large pumps. Qin wasn't satisfied with his map with running water; he had a ceiling constructed over the land map. On the underside of the ceiling, he used pearls and precious and semi-precious gems to outline heavenly constellations. He used much larger gems for the moon and the sun. In short, Emperor Qin spared no expense for his final place of repose.

Reportedly, Qin had his concubines and musicians buried with him to bring him enjoyment in his subterranean crypt. However, Emperor Qin's fascination with his final resting spot got the better of him. Apparently, the Chinese version of OSHA hadn't advised him of the poisonous properties of mercury. Had Qin bothered to look into his OSHA regulations, he would have discovered that mercury is an extremely deadly neurotoxin. All that mercury flowing throughout his underground vault would have been fatal for anyone in his post death world.

However, there is one bright spot in this story. No one has ever disturbed Emperor Qin's mausoleum without even having to employ his 8,000 terra cotta warriors. Chinese authorities have tested soil samples around his tomb and have discovered very high levels of mercury. It looks like Qin will remain undisturbed for a while longer in his palatial burial crypt.

This article appeared in the Dixon Telegraph on 10/12/05.