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Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Museum

January 1st, 2018 No comments

Address: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning City, National Minority Dajie, #34

A jade cup of the Western Han dynasty

A jade cup of the Western Han dynasty

This museum was established in 1978 on the east side of the People’s Square in Nanning City and in 1988 a new People’s Cultural Hall was added to it. The entire Museum occupies 56,757 square meters of space with a building space of 22,761 square meters. The exhibition building is a modern structure with southern architectural characteristics, which contains six exhibition halls.

The ‘Guangxi Historical Artifacts Exhibition’ exhibits all periods of Guangxi history from Primitive Society up to the Opium War (1840-1842), reflecting local culture and the interchange with the Central Plains and neighboring regions and the process of cultural melding and development. The exhibition of the ‘Liujiang Man’ shows the earliest hominid fossil found to date within the borders of Guangxi. It belongs to the late period of hominids and is the earliest representative of modern man found to date not only inside China but in all of the Southeast Asia region.

Stone tools manufactured in more than one hundred sites have been found in Guangxi. Mesolithic-period polishedblade stone tools and stones with finely wrought holes in them are displayed in the museum, as well as a wealth of artifacts from the Neolithic period. Neolithic sites are divided into three main types, those in caves, on hills, and on mountain slopes and artifacts are exhibited from all three. Of particular note is a large ceremonial shovel-shaped object that is 66.4 cm in length and 44.8 cm wide. The quality of its manufacture, its size, and its polishing make it a superlative work.

Copper phoenix lamps of the Han dynasty unearthed in Hepu, Guangxi. The necks can be turned or taken apart in order to adjust light and clean the ashes in lamp bodies.

Copper phoenix lamps of the Han dynasty unearthed in Hepu, Guangxi. The necks can be turned or taken apart in order to adjust light and clean the ashes in lamp bodies.

In the Shang and Zhou periods, two tribes who lived in Guangxi began to have political, economic and cultural relations with the Central Plains region. Certain bronze items are evidence of this cultural interchange although there is also evidence that 2,500 years ago, during the late Western Zhou period, Guangxi’s ancient inhabitants were creating their own brilliant bronze culture. Items in the Museum that demonstrate this culture include spears, axes, ladles, bells, and many other items found the ‘Matou Yuanlongpo’ grave in Wuming County. Early inhabitants also achieved a high level of ceramic technology, with firing temperatures of 1150 degrees centigrade. Many such ceramics are on display in the Museum.
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Shenyang Palace Museum

April 26th, 2014 No comments

Address: Liaoning Province, Shenyang City, Shenhe District, Shenyang Road, #171

The Dazheng Hall in the Shenyang Palace Museum

The Dazheng Hall in the Shenyang Palace Museum

The Shenyang Palace Museum is located at the center of Jing-zi Dajie Center in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. It covers 60,000 square meters and is a history museum with collections and exhibits that deal mainly with Qing dynasty art and artifacts.

Formerly called the Fengtian Palace Museum (sometimes, people called it as Later Jin Palace or Shengjing Palace), then the National Shenyang Museum, in 1954 it was officially renamed the Shenyang Palace Museum. In 1961, the State Council placed it among the ranks of National Key Cultural Relics Protected Units. The permanent exhibits of the museum are divided into two parts, one showing historical artifacts of the court and the other showing Qing-dynasty arts and crafts.

The Shenyang Palace Museum is the only well preserved group of ancient palace buildings in the country except for the Beijing Palace Museum. The complex is divided into three parts, the Eastern Way, the Central Way, and the Western Way. The architecture of the main building of the Eastern Way is characteristic of a horseriding arrow-shooting people who used tent palaces; this Dazheng Hall once hosted tremendous ceremonies.

The original throne display in the Dazheng Hall

The original throne display in the Dazheng Hall

The main building of the Central Way was where the emperor held daily meetings with his court to conduct governmental affairs and receive ministers. Inside, objects are arranged as they were during the Qianlong period. Inside a separate hall to the west are objects used by the emperors Qianlong and Jiaqing as these two emperors made their long investigative trips through the country.

The Phoenix Tower in the Shenyang Palace Museum

The Phoenix Tower in the Shenyang Palace Museum

On the western side of the Shenyang Palace Museum are riding grounds where horses were kept and trained, also a pavilion in which the emperor watched plays when he did his ‘eastern sojourn.’ There is also a reconstruction of a Ming-dynasty pavilion from Ningbo, which is one of the seven halls in the Qing dynasty to receive a copy of the famous Yongle-period encyclopedia known as the Siku Quanshu, or the Four Warehouses of All Knowledge.

Most of the Shenyang Palace Museum collections of documents and artifacts date from the Qing dynasty, though some are from the Ming. Many are of interest for their historical value but some are of great artistic value as well, such as paintings by Dong Qichang (1555-1636), a famous Ming painter and calligrapher.

Some of the more representative treasures that have been exhibited from the collections of the Museum are Qing-dynasty weapons, musical instruments, palace accouterments, ceramics, carvings, textiles and embroideries, lacquerware, and amber.

Shanghai Museum

August 17th, 2013 No comments

Address: Shanghai, Peoples Great Road, #201

A wood carving Guanyin statue of the Song dynasty

A wood carving Guanyin statue of the Song dynasty

The scope, depth and quality of its collections, and the striking architecture and use of modern technology make the Shanghai Museum one of the most famous if not the most famous in China. It covers an area of 38,000 square meters, with a scale that surpasses the old museum severalfold. The exterior of the museum utilizes the shape of an ancient bronze ding, specifically a Chen ding, with its rather archaic flavor. The structure and materials of the entire building, however, are an accomplishment of the most modern technology.

The Shanghai Museum is mainly a museum for ancient arts. At present it is divided into ten sections. These are: ancient Chinese bronzes, sculpture, ceramics, jades, seals, calligraphy, coin and currency, paintings, Ming and Qing-dynasty furniture, and crafts of China’s national minorities. In addition to these ten permanent exhibitions, the museum often holds small-scale exhibitions and also exhibits articles from elsewhere on a short-term basis. The Museum also exhibits its material in museums both within China and abroad. Among the holdings of the Museum many items are superlative works of art and are unique in the entire country. These include in particular the bronzes, calligraphy, paintings, and Ming and Qing furniture. China’s Shang and Zhou-period bronzes are an important testimony to the ancient civilization of the country. When visitors enter the Ancient Bronzes Hall, the presentation and atmosphere of the rooms expresses the cultural atmosphere of the bronze age. The subdued dark-green tone of the walls imparts an ancient atmosphere, the simple and elegant display cases and the lighting are carefully designed to enhance the experience.

Some 400 exquisite bronze items are displayed in a space of 1,200 square meters, perfectly reflecting the history of the

Da Ke ding (a kind of ancient vessel)

Da Ke ding (a kind of ancient vessel)

development of China’s ancient bronze arts. The Calligraphy Hall includes works from many dynasties; in chronological order it displays the history of the marvelous genius of Chinese calligraphic arts. The aura of the hall is scholarly and elegant, assisted by automatic lighting in display cases that protects the art by shining only when the visitor is viewing a work. Among these works are a number of unique world treasures.

The Chinese Painting Hall of the Museum similarly has a touch of traditional architectural style to it, combined with an atmosphere of Confucian elegance. Around 120 masterpieces are displayed in the 1,200-square-meter exhibition space. These date from the Tang dynasty to modern times but do not include contemporary works.

The apex of Chinese furniture creation occurred during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Walking into the Ming and Qing Furniture Hall is like walking back into the gardens and rooms of the Ming and Qing dynasty. In some 700 square meters of space are exhibited some 100 pieces of superlative Chinese Ming and Qing-dynasty furniture. Among these are Ming pieces that are fluid in line and harmonious in proportion. The Qing pieces have more complex ornamentation and are often made of thicker, heavier wood.

The underground part of the Shanghai Museum also has some courtyard gardens that imitate authentic Chinese traditions. Although these are hidden deeply underground, their architecture and environment seem light and airy.

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Liaoning Provincial Museum

August 18th, 2007 No comments

Address: Liaoning Province, Shenyang City, Heping District, Shiwei Road, #26

A Western Zhou dynasty bronze utensil- a lei (a kind of ancient wine vessel) with a lid and coiling dragons pattern

A Western Zhou dynasty bronze utensil- a lei (a kind of ancient wine vessel) with a lid and coiling dragons pattern

The Liaoning Provincial Museum is located in Heping District of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. The area of the Museum grounds and buildings totals 110,000 square meters. The heart of the Museum is a three-story exhibition hall that was designed by a German architect. In 1988, a new threestory white building was built inside the grounds that includes a large hall and a surrounding corridor.

Historical artifacts and ancient arts are the main focus of the Museum’s collections. These include
some eighteen categories of objects: paintings and calligraphy, embroideries, woodblock prints, bronzes, ceramics, lacquerware, carvings, oracle bones, celadons, costumes, archaeological material, coins and currency, stelaes, old maps, ethnic minority artifacts, revolutionary artifacts, furniture, and assorted other items. Among these some were excavated and others were passed down through the ages, that is inherited, not recovered from the earth. The collections occupy an important position among museums’ collections in China.

Painting and calligraphy collections include paintings by famous Tang-dynasty and Northern Song artists, and

Liao ceramics collected by the Liaoning Provinceial Museum

Liao ceramics collected by the Liaoning Provinceial Museum

woodblock-print editions include the Ming-dynasty Album of the Ten-bamboo Studio, the first colored woodblock print in Chinese woodblock-print history.

The ceramics collections in the museum are also quite famous and valuable. Liao porcelain is unique in the art form for its treatment of colored glazes, but the collection also includes Liao monochromes such as the lovely Liao white porcelain. Many of the ceramic forms embody nomadic characteristics, and the glazes and colors are imbued with local character. Production methods continue the traditions of the Tang and Five dynasties kilns.

Two permanent collections are on display in the museum. One is an exhibit on Chinese history, and the other is a display of stone inscriptions. The former deals with overall Chinese history in general but also takes local Liao history into special consideration. Contents include:

Room 1: The main archaeological findings from Paleolithic and Neolithic times in the Liaoning region. Key emphases are on the sites from early Paleolithic times at Yingkou Jinniu Shan, the Paleolithic cave site at Hezi Cave, the Hongshan Culture site, the Shenyang Xinle early Neolithic site, the Lushun Guojia Cun site, and so on.

Room 2: Key exhibits include a Xiajiadian Lower-level-culture site that corresponds to Xia and Shang periods that was discovered in Liaoning, several sites that have produced Shang and Zhou bronzes, and bronze daggers and swords that accom-panied burials, etc.
Rooms 3 and 4: Show items from the period of Warring States, Qin, and Han.

Rooms 5, 6, and 7: Show items from the Three Kingdoms, the East and West Jin, the North and South dynasties. Most importantly, on exhibit here are the tomb wall paintings of Liaoyang.

A copper gui called ‘yufu gui,’ a kind of food vessel used in the Western Zhou dynasty unearthed in Kazuo, Liaoning

A copper gui called ‘yufu gui,’ a kind of food vessel used in the Western Zhou dynasty unearthed in Kazuo, Liaoning

Room 8: Is the exhibition hall for Sui, Tang, and the Five dynasties. The main objects on display were excavated from a Tang-dynasty grave discovered in Chaoyang, also a group of artifacts from the Bohai Kingdom, which include a group of rarely seen earthen statues.

Rooms 9 to 12: Are exhibitions for Liao, Song, Jin, and Western Xia. A key emphasis is the exhibition of items from some extraordinary Liao tombs. Also on display is a farmer’s house site from the Jin dynasty, as well as Liao, Song, and Jin ceramics.

Rooms 13 to 18: Exhibit Yuan, Ming and Qing objects. These include Ming-dynasty maps, an inscription from a military commander of the Ming, from eastern Liaoning, also Ming and Qing dynasty ceramics and paintings.
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