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Shandong Museum

Address: 11899, Jingshi Road, Jinan, Shandong Province
9:00 - 17:00 (no entry after 16:00)
Closed days: Closed Mondays (except for national holidays)
General admission: Free (Passport required for entry)

The Shandong Museum houses more than 140,000 historical relics, more than 130,000 pieces of cultural relics and written materials of modern and contemporary times, and over 8,000 natural specimens. It is a leading museum in its collections of stone Buddha statues, pictorial stones, pottery and porcelain, bronze ware, bamboo slips, calligraphy, paintings and ancient fossil specimens.

Shandong is one of the cradles of the Chinese civilization. Neolithic cultures, such as the Dawenkou and Longshan cultures, existed in the region between 8,500 and 4,000 years ago. Pottery from those prehistoric civilizations is a highlight exhibition in the museum.

The pictorial stones in Shandong Museum are collected from across the province and the exhibits are known for both the quantity and high quality of their relics. In a mural unearthed from a Han Dynasty tomb in the Dongping area, details and colors can still be seen today.

In addition, Buddhist art, including statues and scrolls, make up another exhibition highlight in the museum. A statue from the Eastern Wei Dynasty (534-550) shows a Bodhisattva wearing a headpiece decorated with a cicada. The type of headpiece had been used by officers in the imperial household of the Han Dynasty and in later dynasties became a symbol of high social status. The Bodhisattva wearing such a headpiece is regarded as an embodiment of the localization of the Buddhism.

The Shandong Museum boasts over 10,000 pieces of oracle bones, which were unearthed from the Yin Ruins, the archaeological site of the capital of the Shang Dynasty (c. 16th century -11th century BC). They were acquired by the museum through private donations worldwide. One of the pieces, made of ox shoulder blade, still preserves the red paint thousands of years ago. The content of the script is about the king of Shang inquiring if it was going to rain. The character for rain is vividly inscribed like rain drops.

Bamboo slips were another main way to write in early China before paper was invented and widely spread. Shandong Museum discovered two tombs from the early Han Dynasty in 1972 in Linyi city, and found more than 7,600 bamboo slips, which are mainly about the Art of War, the ancient Chinese military treatise dating to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) .

Last Updated: Dec 04, 2018

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