Horse Nation embarks upon a serious research mission (a.k.a. some heavy Googling) to find out.
According to P.F. Chang’s website, “Our majestic 11 ft. tall horses grace the entrance to many of our restaurants. The horse symbolizes the original Forbidden City in China, which was built for China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi.”
Here’s some background:
By all accounts Qin Shi Haungdi was a pretty horrible guy. Born in 259 BC, he was a warring emperor who is best remembered for burning books and burying scholars alive to avoid comparisons of his reign with the past. (Maybe not the best move for someone who is concerned about their reputation.)
But wait–he gets crazier! According to his Wikipedia entry, “Three assassination attempts were made in Qin Shihuang’s life, leading him to become paranoid and obsessed with immortality. He died in 210 BC, while on a trip to the far eastern reaches of his empire in an attempt to procure an elixir of immortality from Taoist magicians, who claimed the elixir was stuck on an island guarded by a sea monster.”
Oh, the irony. Thankfully, Qin had built himself a city-sized mausoleum, a predecessor to the 13th-century citadel that is known as the Forbidden City. Constructed by 700,000 workers, it was filled with precious treasures and featured rivers of mercury, scenic towers, booby traps and a tomb of poured-in bronze. It was guarded by a so-called “Terracotta Army,” comprised of statues of 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses.
More proof that Qin was a terrible person: All of his concubines who did not bear him children, plus all the mausoleum’s craftsmen who “knew too much” were ordered to be exterminated post-burial. According to a biography of Qin, “…After the funeral ceremonies had completed and the treasures hidden away, the inner gates were blocked, and the outer gate lowered, immediately trapping all the workers and craftsmen inside, and none could escape.”
Wow. It’s so great that P.F. Chang’s is paying homage to such an amazing legacy.
Top photo: princewilliamhomevalues.com