Highlands & Islands

Scotland's tiny terracotta tartan army

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Media captionThe mini warriors are on public display until the end of July

A tiny terracotta army has been created in a community project in the Highlands.

The 200 clay figures were made by young people during drop-in sessions and by care home residents in Wester Ross.

China's famous and ancient Terracotta Warriors inspired the project.

More than 8,000 life-sized Terracotta Warriors have been unearthed in burial pits at the tomb complex of Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, since 1974 near Xi' in North West China.

Terracotta warriors Image copyright Steven Gourlay

Scotland's mini terracotta tartan army is being exhibited at Ullapool's An Talla Solais Gallery.

From Friday, the figures will be available for sale to raise funds for An Talla Solais' work which includes supporting those living with dementia and their carers as part of its Dolphin Project, a six-month pilot programme being run by artists and volunteers.

The warriors will remain to be on public display until the end of July.

Among the figures are a clay monkey, pirate, ski-ing polar bear and a mini sculpture of the late singer Amy Winehouse.

Terracotta warriors Image copyright Steven Gourlay

Anne-Marie Quinn, artist coordinator for The Dolphin Project, said: "The Tiny Terracotta Army is a beautiful symbol of a community, full of individual characters, all standing together in support of people made vulnerable by dementia.

"The joy that has gone into creating each of these characters is tangible."

Terracotta warriors Image copyright Steven Gourlay

The army has impressed Jane Portal, Keeper of the Asia Department at the British Museum and was responsible for bringing some of China's Terracotta Army to UK a decade ago.

She said: "I am delighted to see that the terracotta warriors of the First Emperor of China are enjoying an afterlife in the Scottish Highlands where they are providing an inspiration to many.

Terracotta warriors Image copyright Steven Gourlay

"Villagers have created a fantastic mini army of soldiers fighting against dementia. They are truly a global army."

China's Terracotta Army Image copyright EPA
Image caption China's Terracotta Army was the inspiration for the Scottish project

All images are copyrighted.

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