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Shaanxi History Museum

Shaanxi History Museum is a good-sized modern national museum and was completed and opened to the public in June 1991.It covers an area of 70,000m².  The entire building complex assumes the architectural features of the Tang Dynasty. The museum houses the best cultural heritage of Shaanxi Province and shows the systematic development process of Chinese civilization.

The museum houses 113,000 historic and cultural relics unearthed in Shaanxi. The display area measures 1100m² and is divided into seven major sections: Prehistoric Age, Zhou, Qin, Han, Wei Jin Southern and Northern Dynasty, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. All the exhibitions vividly depict the history of Shaanxi Province from 1,150,000 years ago to 1840 AD. Historically, 13 dynasties have established their capitals in Shaanxi Province.

The capitals lasted 1,500 years. There were more dynastic capitals established here than in any other place. Capitals also lasted longer here than in any other area.  As a result, it has been suggested that the ancient history of Shaanxi is a microcosm of Chinese history.

Shaanxi is an important source of information on the origin of the human race in Asia. The exhibition of the Prehistoric Age displays  relics including the fossil of Ape-man skull,  tip-bottomed bottles, stone balls, pottery plummets, bone arrows, harpoons and the painted pottery utensils of  Yangshao Culture that date back around 5-7,000 years.  All of these exhibits offer a glimpse into the life and times of these early Chinese and the spirit and fortitude they would have required to overcome the many difficulties of the early stone age of 5,000 years ago.

During the West Zhou Dynasty, the development of China‘s bronze culture reached its peak. The number of bronze vessels unearthed in Shaanxi has topped 3,000, with2, 000 now preserved in Shaanxi History Museum. There are ritual and musical instruments, daily utensils, production implements as well as weapons on display. Qin is the first feudal dynasty in China’s history.  In this exhibition hall, there are various weapons, terracotta warriors and horses, tiles, and bronze chariots and horses discovered in the Mausoleum of Qinshihuang. All of these show the unprecedented prosperity and progress of the Qin Dynasty in its military affairs, economy, science and technology and culture. Han Dynasty is a very important period in Chinese history. The Han Nationality took shape during this historical period. The Han Dynasty attached great importance to the development of agriculture and animal husbandry. Many burial objects were excavated from Han tombs, such as iron farm tools, pottery utensils with grain, pottery oxen, chicks, ducks and pigsties. These indicate a high level of development in agriculture and animal husbandry during the Han Dynasty.

Wei Jin South and North Dynasty saw a long period of social upheaval and national amalgamation. Shaanxi was a center of national amalgamation during this period. In this exhibition hall, the pottery figures, which represent different nationalities, were abundant in number and varied in shape. Buddhism and Buddhist art underwent rapid development during this period .The gold, silver, bronze and jade Buddhist statues on display here are vivid evidence of Buddhist art during this period.

Sui and Tang dynasties were the heyday of China’s feudal society and they also marked a golden era in the history of Shaanxi Province. In this exhibition hall, there are the tri-colored glazed pottery figurines of hunters on horse-back, the pottery figurines of a group of singers and musicians and the go stones, all of which reveal the bountiful and stable lives that the people of the Tang Dynasty enjoyed.  Gold and silver wares were exquisitely made and served as symbols of the Tang Dynasty. They are evidence of very high technological standard of gold and silver wares manufacturing in the Tang Dynasty. 

Since the Song Dynasty, Xi’an lost its position as the national capital, but it was still the center of the military, politics, economy and culture in Northwest China. The Mongols founded the Yuan Dynasty after overturning the Song Dynasty .Therefore, horses are a common subject matter among Yuan cultural relics.  Porcelain production developed rapidly during this period. Among the exhibits, Song porcelain vessels offer visitors a new and fresh perspective.

In view of Shaanxi’s special position in Chinese history, the Chinese government invested 144 million Yuan in the creation of this museum.  The museum is not only a treasure house for Chinese cultural relics, but also serves as a vital area for foreign cultural exchange, education and scientific research.



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