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Cultural Relics in Hunan Provincial Museum

 2014-09-12    Ada    Sights    Changsha    548  

Hunan Provincial Museum is located in Changsha City, Hunan. It covers an area of 50,000 square meters (about 12.2 acres) with a construction area of 20,000 square meters (about 4.9 acres). First built in 1951, the museum was open to the public in July 1974. It has gathered together most curios unearthed in Hunan Province, unfolding the cultural development of Hunan Province throughout thousands of years.

This museum has a collection of more than 110,000 objects, including items found in the tombs of the Marquis of Dai and his wife in Mawangdui. Over 763 of which are top grade cultural relics. Most of these objects were discovered by archaeological excavation. What's more, the museum has gathered together nearly all the fine works unearthed in different parts of Hunan Province. According to the various textures, the cultural relics in Hunan Provincial Museum can be classified into the following kinds: bronze, silk paintings and books, lacquers, textiles, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy.

These cultural relics include stone implements and pottery from the Neolithic Age, bronze wares of the Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC) and Zhou Dynasty (11th - 221 BC), and celadon wares from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220) to the Sui Dynasty (581 - 618) and the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). Some masterpieces by famous scholars like Wang Xizhi, a famous calligrapher from the Tang Dynasty, and Wang Fuzhi, a great philosopher of the late Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and the early Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) are also on display. Cultural relics unearthed in Mawangdui Han Tombs are the highlights in the museum.

Worthy of special mention is a duplication of the famous calligraphic work, Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion, by the Eastern Jin (CE 317-420) Dynasty 'Sage of Calligraphy', Wang Xizhi (alas, none of Xizhi's original works have survived). The "Preface" was written by Xizhi on the occasion of the publication of a collection of poems written by poets who had gathered at the village of Lanting, near Shaoxing, for the annual Spring Festival.

The museum's permanent exhibits also include texts by famous Chinese authors from the period near the end of the Ming (CE 1368-1644) Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing (CE 1644-1911) Dynasty. There are also cultural relics dating from the Kingdom of Wu (CE 229-280) of the Three Kingdoms (CE 220-280) period.

The cultural relics from the Mawangdui Han Tomb are one of the important symbols of the earlyHan Dynasty(206BC-220AD) cultural level and a representative of Chinese ancient aristocratic culture. The first one is the tomb and corpse of Xin Zhui, circa 2,000 years ago, which is well preserved. Her skin is moist and her organs are still well protected, even after having been unearthed for more than 30 years.

The second relic is a T-shaped colored silk painting. It is not only still intact but also has gorgeous color. The contents of this painting are various, giving you a full picture of lives in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24). The third one is a plain gauze garment. It is about 128 centimeters (about 4.2 feet) long but only weighs 48 grams (about 1.7 ounces). This garment is perhaps the most significant, because it proves the existence of very advanced textile technology in the Han Dynasty (206BC - 220) when China was called 'the country of silk'.

Showpieces in Hunan Provincial Museum are rich in number, variety, and cultural connotations, you can even imagine what the life then would be like through those well preserved relics. So if you are interested in relics, make sure not to miss Hunan Provincial Museum!

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