Archaeologists have discovered European DNA at the site where those 8,000 lifesize terracotta soldiers guard the tomb of China’s first Emperor. They are concluding that Greek sculptors may have been involved with their creation, especially since the realistic statues correspond to Greek styles and techniques.
They were made in the 3rd century B.C., which means that the contact between West and East pre-dated Marco Polo by some 1500 years. The Emperor may have become aware of Greek statuary as a result of Alexander the Great’s march to India a century earlier.
I would say, however, that while the Greeks might have had a role in making the individual statues, the Greeks never used art on such a colossal scale. Greek sculpture honors the individual. This army of statues is profoundly collectivist. So the Chinese can still claim credit.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons. The Chronicles of Mariane.