THE SHAANXI HISTORY MUSEUM IS A TREASURE HOUSE OF ANCIENT CHINESE ARTEFACTS:
For history buffs and anyone wanting to have some appreciation of ancient Chinese history and culture, the Shaanxi History Museum is an excellent museum with over 370,000 fine pieces of ancient artefacts tracing the history of China from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age and through the various imperial dynasties.
Shaanxi itself is considered one of the cradles of Chinese civilization – thirteen feudal and imperial dynasties established their capitals in the province during a period spanning more than 1,100 years, from the Zhou Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty.
Shaanxi History Museum
The Shaanxi History Museum is a modern and well laid out museum, spread over two floors. Its cultural relics and exhibits are organized in three main galleries.
There is a small section on the Qin Emperor’s Terracotta Warriors, but as we’ve already been to the Terracotta Museum, this small section pales in comparison.
One of the most significant treasures at the Shaanxi History Museum is an Empress Seal, which was found near the tomb of Emperor Gao Zu, the first Han Emperor. This is the most important imperial seal ever found and it is a thrill to see such a fine-looking treasure.
Another important discovery is the stash of 219 gold discs, the biggest collection of gold discs unearthed from the Han Dynasty. These were not coins in circulation, but were used mainly as gifts or rewards.
The Western Zhou period of Chinese history (1050 BC – 770 BC) produced what many consider the zenith of Chinese bronze-ware making. The Museum has a fine collection of these bronze ware.
The Eastern Zhou (770 BC – 250 BC), however, is also remembered as the golden age of Chinese philosophy.
The Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 907 AD) was largely a period of progress and stability China enjoyed its heydays during this period. There were many notable innovations during the Tang, including the development of woodblock printing.
Buddhism became a major influence in Chinese culture, with native Chinese sects gaining prominence. A section that I liked very much is the Zhongshan Grottoes with over 10,000 buddha statues and carvings in them.
Chang’an (modern day Xi’an) was the capital of China during the Tang Dynasty and many exquisite Tang Dynasty artefacts were excavated from the suburbs of Xi’an city. On display are many tri-color glazed pottery and splendid gold and silver articles. This horse from Princess Yongtai’s tomb is Tony’s favourite.
Although the Silk Road from China to the West was initially formulated during the reign of Emperor Wu (141–87 BC) during the Han Dynasty, it was reopened by the Tang Dynasty in 639 when Hou Junji conquered the West, and remained open for almost four decades. A model of the Silk Road route shows the journey from Xi’an to the West.
Although Xian lost its position as the capital city of China after the Tang Dynasty, it was still an important place. There are many relics that show its continuing importance.
Visiting the Shaanxi History Museum
It’s easy to walk around the museum and view the exhibits on your own as they have English language descriptions. Although not a huge museum, the two floors of the Shaanxi History Museum are packed with exhibits, and people, and you’ll need time to enjoy them. We unfortunately had limited time and rushed through the galleries.
Entry to the Museum is free and you’ll find it to the northwest of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Shaanxi History Museum
91 Xiaozhai E Road