Shaanxi History Museum

Updated: Dec 7, 2018 Print
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Shaanxi History Museum

Address: 91 East Xiaozhai Road, Yanta district, Xi’an, Shaanxi province
9:00-17:30, 15 November - 14 March (No admission after 16:00)
8:30-18:00, 15 March - 14 November (No admission after 16:30)
Closed Mondays (except for national holidays and the last day of the Chinese lunar year)
General admission: Free (passport required for entry, with a max of 6,000 admitted daily)


Exquisite bronzes of the Shang Dynasty (c.16th century - 11th century BC), unique gold and silver ware of the Han (206 BC-AD 220) and the Tang (618-907) dynasties, wall paintings of Tang imperial tombs, and terracotta figurines of varied types and postures, all showing the colorful culture of several past dynasties, are available for viewing at the Shaanxi History Museum.

Shaanxi province was the location of the capitals of 13 dynasties including the Zhou (c.11th century - 256 BC), Qin (221-206 BC), Han (206 BC- AD 220), and Tang (618-907).

The Shaanxi History Museum was built in 1983 and opened on June 20, 1991 with its appearance recalling a typical Tang Dynasty architectural style. The Museum covers an area of 65,000 square meters and has 370,000 exhibits vividly showing the history of over a million years from prehistoric times (1.63 million years ago - 21st Century BC) to about 1840 AD.

There are three permanent exhibition halls in the museum: Prehistoric Times (1.63 million years ago - 21st Century BC), Zhou to Tang Dynasties, depicting the Western Zhou (1046 - 771BC) and the Qin Dynasty, the Han Dynasty (202BC- AD220), the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-581), and the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and Later Years, showing developments until 1911.

Two changeable galleries are devoted to the Relics of the Tang Dynasty and Mural Paintings of the Tang Dynasty. The first features 300 treasures selected from a hoard hidden in two pottery urns and a handled silver pot excavated at the Hejiacun village of Xi'an in 1970; the latter showcases the most distinctive collection in the museum, filling 1,000 square meters with 600 mural paintings from more than 20 noble tombs of the Tang Dynasty depicting aspects of people’s lives at that time. Some murals some show the decorations of the tombs of the crown prince Zhanghuai (Li Xian, 655-684) and the princess Yongtai (Li Xianhui, 684-701).

Eighteen cultural artifacts from the museum are Grade-one Cultural Relics of China, among them an ox-head agate cup with a gilded mouth dated to the Tang Dynasty (popularly known as the Rhyton cup; it is displayed in the Hejiacun hoard gallery). Its display outside China is prohibited. They also include the best crafted jade ware from the Tang Dynasty, which is said to be worth the value of half of Hong Kong and is considered museum’s most precious holding.

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