Shaanxi Provincial History Museum
The Shaanxi History Museum, a massive modern museum up to the national standard, is located one kilometer away, northwest of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It is a magnificent architectural com- plex in the Tang-dynasty style. It covers an area of 70,000 square metres, construction area being over 50,000 square metres. It collects the highlights of the Shaanxi culture and shows a development of the Chinese civilization.
Considering the position of Shaanxi Province in the Chinese history, the stateinvested 1.44 billion yuan in the establishment of the Shaanxi History Museum just to fulfil late Premier Zhou Enlai's will.
The architecture of the museum is simple, unsophisticated, elegant and unique in style. It combines the construction of the ancient Chinese palaces and courtyard buildings, harmonious and graceful in hue, and demonstrates the Chinese traditional architec- tural style. It also has local characteristics and epoch- making essence.
The Museum possesses a treasure of 113,000 historic and cultural artifacts unearthed in Shaanxi, and covers an area of 1,100 square metres for exhibition.
The Museum has established a science and technology centre for the preservation of cultural relicts. It has an advanced technology of examination and laboratory test and the means of repair and restoration. To promote international cultural exchanges, it has also set up a computer-controlled, international symposium hall where six different languages can be employed in the spontaneous interpre- tation.
Now, this is the Preface Hall of the museum. The massive pic- ture that faces us shows the surging and roaring Yellow River and the Vast Loess Plateau, which are the natural habitat of the Shaanxi residents and the cradle of Shaanxi's ancient civilization as well.
The giant lion in the centre was originally erected in front of Shunling, the Mausoleum of the mother of Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty. Its exquisite craftsmanship and imposing look rank it the "No. 1 Lion in the Orient". China's ancient stone lions and the technique of its sculpturing were introduced into the country from Afghanistan. So this lion is not only the representative of the Shaanxi civilization, but also the product of the cultural exchange between the East and the West.
The Shaanxi History Museum offers a full display of historic relics mainly excavated in the Province. The exhibition can be divided into seven sections which emphatically reveal the prosperity of the Prehistoric Age; the Zhou; Qin; Han; Wei; Jin; North and South; Sui ; Tang ; Song ; Yuan ; Ming and Qing dynasties. The exhibition vividly and systematically depicts Shaanxi history, ranging from 1,150,000 years ago up to the year 1840.
In Chinese history, thirteen dynasties established their capitals in Shaanxi Province, lasting more than 1,000 years. It is the area that was made the country's capital by more dynasties and for longer periods of time than any other places in China. In a way, the ancient history of Shaanxi is a highly condensed version of Chinese history.
Photos of Xi'an Provincial History Museum
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