Monday, 1 July 2019 - 6.00pm-9.00pm

The Terracotta Army is one of the great wonders of the ancient world, unknown to modernity until the local farmers of Lintong District stumbled upon them in 1974.

This event is now fully booked and tickets are no longer available.

Tickets are still available for the second Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang Melbourne Masterclass on 23 September.

If you wish to be placed on the waiting list for the 1 July Masterclass, please contact:

Alternatively, sign up to our mailing list to ensure you don't miss out on future Melbourne Masterclasses and Short Courses.


The army of more than 8000 life-sized and unique warriors was created to guard the city-sized underground tomb of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shihuang, in 210-209 BCE. However, since their discovery, these fascinating objects have also had a part to play in the making of modern China.

As part of the University of Melbourne's Learning Partnership with the NGV exhibition Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality, the Faculty of Arts is delighted to present a Melbourne Masterclass exploring the ways in which these incredible artefacts embody a sense of place, culture and history.

This Masterclass offers attendees:

  • the chance to understand the Terracotta Warriors in their original historical context, as well as the modern political and cultural settings which have seen them transformed into ambassadors of Chinese culture;
  • insights into the process of excavating, conserving and displaying some of China’s most precious relics;
  • and an opportunity to spend time exploring the exhibition and its companion exhibition Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape after-hours with a fraction of the usual crowds.

Speakers include: Exhibition Curator Wayne Crothers; Faculty of Arts China experts Dr Lewis Mayo and Professor Tonia Eckfeld; and NGV Head of Conservation, Michael Varcoe-Cox.

Price: $65 General / $60 University of Melbourne Staff, Students and Alumni
Prices cover refreshments and exhibition entry and are GST inclusive.

Session outline

5.30pm-6.00pm Arrival and registration.
6.00pm-6.30pm Talk: Exhibition Curator Wayne Crothers, 'The Terracotta Warriors, the Qin Dynasty and the birth of unified China'
6.30pm-7.00pm Talk: Dr Lewis Mayo, 'The Terracotta Warriors and the imagery of power in the People's Republic of China'
7.00pm-7.15pm Break for refreshments.
7.15pm-9.00pmExhibition viewing time.
7.30pm-7.50pm Pop-up gallery talk: Professor Tonia Eckfeld and Michael Varcoe-Cocks in conversation on the excavation and preservation of the Terracotta Warriors.
8.00pm-8.20pm Pop-up gallery performance: An ensemble of performers from the Chao Feng Chinese Orchestra share a special performance using traditional instruments.


Wayne Crothers is Senior Curator of Asian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria and has been part of the NGV team for 10 years. He is the lead curator of Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang and was integral to the development of the exhibition, from concept to final display.

Dr Lewis Mayo teaches Chinese and Asian Studies at the Asia Institute in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. He has broad expertise across Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Pacific history, with a specialisation in Chinese medieval history.

Professor Tonia Eckfeld is a world authority on Chinese imperial tombs with more than three decades of research and field experience in China. She is a Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne's Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation and is also an alumna of the University of Melbourne.

Michael Varcoe-Cocks is Head of Conservation at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia's largest conservation department. He has worked at the NGV since 1997 and is an alumnus of the University of Melbourne's Victorian College of the Arts (1993).


The Chao Feng Chinese Orchestra is a community-based musical group. Established in 1982, the Orchestra is the largest and longest-running Chinese Orchestra in the country and has become a focal point for the development of Chinese music in Australia.

Melbourne Masterclasses for Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

As part of the University of Melbourne's Learning Partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang, the Faculty of Arts is delighted to present the sixth iteration of our annual Melbourne Masterclasses at the NGV.

In this ongoing annual series, world-leading experts from both the University's Faculty of Arts and the NGV come together to offer insights and critical discussion through short lectures, panel discussions and gallery floor talks.

While focussing separately on the two components of this exhibition, each session will reflect the exhibition’s fluid temporality and interconnectedness, exploring how China's past illuminates the present, and positioning the Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang in an international context.

Also in this series:
Melbourne Masterclass: Cai Guo-Qiang


Ellie Clay
Public Programs and Events Coordinator
Phone: +61 3 8344 2543


Tile image on homepage

Armoured military officer
Qin dynasty 221-207 BCE
190.0 x 56.0 x 58.0 cm
Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum
Site Museum, Xi'an (002758)

Banner image

Installation view of Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality | Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape at NGV International, 24 May - 13 October 2019. Photo © Sean Fennessy