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Shaanxi History Museum

陕西历史博物馆

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 state invested 1.44 billion yuan in the establishment of the Shaanxi History Museum just to fulfil late Premier Zhou Enlai's will.

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 picture 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.

Shaanxi Province is the birthplace of the ancient Chinese civilization. Xian City was the capital city in thirteen dynasties which in total lasted over 1100 years. Consequently, the ancient history of Shaanxi is to some degree the ancient history of China. The Shaanxi History Museum considers it an obligation to be a showcase of ancient civilizations. It is situated in the southern suburb of Xian City, northwest of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.Since it was opened to the public in 1991, its architectural buildings, internal apparatus, and exhibits have made it famous as a first-class museum in China.

General Introduction

The museum occupies an area of 65,000 square meters (16 acres). It is a grand complex of buildings imitating the architecture style of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). A primary pavilion stands in the center, and secondary pavilions of varying heights are distributed orderly around it. With black, white and grey as the predominant colors, the buildings have a solemn and rustic charm. The museum is furnished with central air-conditioning and multi-functional lighting system to ensure the protection of the culture relics. It is a comprehensive museum with more than 370,000 exhibits of different times and kinds. The two-storied primary pavilion is divided into the following three main exhibition halls:

Basic Exhibition Hall

The Basic Exhibition Hall is composed of the No 1 exhibition hall, the No 2 exhibition hall and the No 3 exhibition hall, marked by time order. The No 1 exhibition on the first floor hall displays the articles used during the period from 1.7 million years ago to 206 BC of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC). This exhibition contains rough stone tools used by the ape man, the pottery, bronze sacrificial vessels, weapons and terracotta figures. By visiting the No 2 Exhibition Hall on the second floor, you will gain a general understanding of the historical process from 206 BC in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220AD) to 589 AD in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589). Papermaking, one of China's great inventions, and some important historical events are portrayed on the scroll painting. The No 3 Exhibition Hall on the second floor is dedicated to articles in the dynasties: the Sui (581- 618), the Tang (618-907), the Song (960-1279), the Yuan (1271-1368), the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911). The model of the grand Chang'an City (Xian) during the Sui and the Tang, the shiny silver and gold utensils, pottery figures and the high-quality chinaware all await to be relished by the eyes.

Theme Exhibition Hall

To the west of the Basic Exhibition Hall lies the Theme Exhibition Hall. The hall is 2,500 square meters (26,909 square feet) and usually features a variety of theme exhibitions. The exhibitions in this hall are often theme-oriented to show the history or the culture relics of Shaanxi Province, such as the 'Shanxi Bronze Ware Exhibition', the 'Shaanxi Pottery Figure Exhibition' and the 'Buddhist Culture Relic Exhibition'. A fresco hall is under construction, in which visitors will be able to enjoy the frescos unearthed from the tombs of the Tang Dynasty and explore the social life of that time.

East Exhibition Hall

The East Exhibition Hall, equal in size to the Theme Exhibition Hall, is also on the first floor and to the east of the basic hall. It is used for contemporary exhibitions of high quality. The duration of the exhibitions varies depending on the exhibition theme. The various exhibition themes, high-grade exhibition design and lively exhibition forms will surely please your eyes. Exhibitions of the frescos, the culture relics, the folkways, the fine arts and the calligraphy are conducted continuously.

An exhibition of tomb frescoes of the Tang dynasty

An exhibition of tomb frescoes of the Tang dynasty

The Museum's permanent exhibition primarily displays Shaanxi's ancient history. Representative pieces from all periods have been selected to show the development of civilization in this region. The exhibition space of this display is 4,600 square meters. It includes three exhibition rooms, divided into seven parts (Pre-history, Zhou, Qin, Han, Wei-Jin-North and South dynasties, Sui-Tang, and Song-Yuan-Ming-Qing). The superlative 2,000 selected objects include: painted Neolithic ceramics reflecting early people's living conditions and their pursuit of vibrant art forms, bronzes reflecting the rise of Zhou people, bronze weapons including swords, and statuary of horses and soldiers, reflecting the way in which Qin unified all under heaven, Tang-dynasty gold and silver objects and Tang sancai ceramics, reflecting the most flourishing period of feudal glory. All of this is accompanied by models of archaeological sites, and drawings, and photographs

Xian in Shaanxi Province was once the capital in Tang Dynasty. The art of panting developed both in subject matter and technique during that time. Now a newly museum for exhibiting mural paintings had been built in Xian.

Four years of construction work has officially concluded. The Shaanxi History Museum has now opened its first exhibition hall exclusively for mural paintings of the Tang dynasty.

The brand new hall is located to the east and underground from the museum's main site, covering some 38-hundred square meters. To date, it has become the largest hall of its kind within the Chinese mainland. Visitors can see as many as 97 murals. Joined by relics from the same period of history, the new exhibition collectively presents different aspects of people's daily life in the Tang Dynasty.

As a joint project between Italy and China, the exhibition hall adopts advanced technology to protect the treasures. Airproof display cases and anti-ultraviolet glass are used to maintain constant temperature and humidity, making it possible to keep the paintings in proper condition during the exhibition.

The new facility allows art lovers to enjoy more paintings of the Tang dynasty that previously could not be exhibited due to various restrictions

 Tang Mural Paintings

The Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) was the heyday of ancient China.The paintings of the Tang Dynasty represented the highest level of artistic skills which formed a connecting link between the preceding art and the art that followed .However ,few paintings have survived due to the passing of time.
Since the 1950s,many paintings of landscapes .buildings ,utensils , people ,animals ,and plants have been found in the Tang Tombs .depicting the reality of life during the Tang Dynasty .These paintings provide a panoramic view for understanding the rituals of the imperial court as well as the architectural style of the period .Moreover ,the customs of the people and their characteristics of dress and insights to their entertainment activities are also shown.
The exhibits here totals nearly one hundred pieces,they were selected from the museum's collection which were unearthed from the imperial tombs and the tombs of nobies.Each of them is representative of the splendid social life of the great Tang Dynasty .

Li Shou was the cousin of Emperor Gaozu(Li Yuan) of the Tang Dynasty.At the end of the Sui Dynasty,Li Shou joined Li Yuan in rebellion and was later conferred the title of the prince of Huai'an.After his death he was granted the title of Sikong and the posthumous title Jing.

The procession of the honor guard
The fifth year of Zhenguan (631AD) of the Emperor Taizong
Height 213cm ,width 166cm
Excavated in 1973 from the west wall of the passageway of the Tomb of Li Shou in Sanyuan County.

Ready for setting out
The fifth year of Zhenguan (631AD) of the Emperor Taizong
Height 202cm , width 146cm
Excavated in 1973 from the west wall of the passageway of the Tomb of Li Shou in Sanyuan County.

The procession of the honor guard\
The fifth year of Zhenguan (631AD) of the Emperor Taizong
Height 173cm , width 216cm
Excavated in 1973 from the east wall of the first corridor of the Tomb of Li Shou in Sanyuan County.

Li Shuang,styled Qianyou.was an officer of Imperial Censor during the Zhenguan period .He was famous for his remonstrations to the emperor and his filial principles.He was commended by the imperial court and comferred with various high positions in the imperial bureaucracy.

Maidservant with a dish
The first year of Zongzhang(668AD) of the Emperor Gaozong
Height 186cm, width 91cm
Excavated in 1956 from the west wall of the chamber of the Tomb of Li Shuang in Yangtouzhen Village .Yanta district ,Xi'an City.

The musician playing the Chinese musical instrumen Xiao
The frist year of Zongzhang(668AD) of the Emperor Gaozong
Height 186cm, width 91cm
Excavated in 1956 from the west wall of the chamber of the Tomb of Li Shuang in Yangtouzhen Village .Yanta district ,Xi'an City.

Princess Fanglign was the sixth daughter of the Emperor Gaozu . She was first conferred the title of Princess Yongjia and later the title of Princess Fangling.Her first marriage was with Dou Fengjie and was later married to Helan Sengjia . After her death ,she was buried in the area of Xianling accompanying Gaozu.

Maidservant with a dish
The forth year of Xianheng (673AD) of the Emperor Gaozong
Height 180cm ,width 96cm
Excavated in 1975 from the west wall of the front chamber of the Tomb of Princess Fangling in Shuangbao Village ,Fuping County.

The process of wall paintings in the Tang tombs:First ,mud with hemp fibers and quick lime were used for flattening the tomb wall. When the tomb wall was not yet completely dried a rough draft of the painting was made using a wooden twig or ochre. Then, an outline was made using a writing brush and China ink .Finally ,after applying the color ,brush and ink are again used to finalize the painting.

Maidservant with a dish
The forth year of Xianheng (673AD) of the Emperor Gaozong
Height 176cm ,width 92cm
Excavated in 1975 from the west wall of the front chamber of the Tomb of Princess Fangling in Shuangbao Village ,Fuping County.

Maidservant with a duster
The forth year of Xianheng (673AD) of the Emperor Gaozong
Height 176cm ,width 76cm
Excavated in 1973 from the west wall of the front chamber of the Tomb of Princess Fangling in Shuangbao Village ,Fuping County.

Li Feng was the fifteenth son of the Emperor Gaozu. He was first conferred the title of the prince of You and later the title princeof Guo.He was successively appointed the Chief Governor of the areas of Guo,Yu and Qing .After his death the titles of the Situ and Military Governor of Yangzhou were bestowed upon him . With the posthumous title Zhuang he was buried in the area of Xianlign with the Emperor Gaozu.

Maidservant
The second year of Shangyuan (675AD) of the Emperor Gaozong
Height 137cm ,width 61cm
Excavated in 1973 from the west wall of the tunnel of the Tomb of Lifeng in Beilvcun Village ,Lvcun Town ,Fuping County.

Maidservants
The second year of Shangyuan (675AD) of the Emperor Gaozong
Height 140cm ,width 134cm
Excavated in 1973 from the west wall of the tunnel of the Tomb of Lifeng in Beilvcun Village ,Lvcun Town ,Fuping County.

Prince Yide ,named Li Chongrun ,was the first son of the Emperor Zhongzong . At the age of 19 he was killed by his grandmother Wu Zetian after being falsely charged with discussing the affairs of the court in private . After the restoration of the dethroned Emperor Zhongzong , Li Chongrun was conferring the title of Prince with the posthumous name Yide . In 706AD he was buried again in the area of Qianling of the Emperor Gaozong .

Fortressed Towers
The second year of Shengong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height 304cm , width 296cm
Excavated in 1971 from the east wall of the passageway of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian County.

The procession of the honor guards
The second year of Shengong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height of each 364 ,420 ,315cm ,width 207 ,231 ,234cm
Excavated in 1971 from the east wall of the passageway of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian County.

Taking off the wall paintings in the Tang tombs : It started at the beginning of 1950s , this skill was invented and first used by Ru Shi'an and Zheng Yuwen . The process includes : cleaning the surface of the wall paintings ,pasting cloth to the front of the original wall paintings and then cutting them off . The area of Figure 2 is 9.7 square meters and is the largest one peeled off intact.

Fortressed Towers
The second year of Shengong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height 304cm ,width 296cm
Excavated in 1971 from the west wall of the passageway of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian County.

The procession of the honor guards
The second year of Shengong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height of each 358 ,305 ,358 cm ,width 235 ,203 ,232cm
Excavated in 1971 from the west wall of the passageway of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian County.

Leopard training
The second year of Shenglong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height of each 158 ,201cm ,width 144 ,219cm
Excavated in 1971 from the east wall of the first corridor of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian County.

Tang Dynasty paintings were painted on silk , paper and walls .The first two media are not easily preserved because of the limitations inherent in the materials . The Tang Dynasty paingtings currently preserved are all small and most are Song Dynasty paintings currently preserved are all small and most are Song Dynasty coopies . On the other hand , the wall paintings in the Tang tombs are large in scale and also have exact dates . Therefore they are extremely valuable, authentic vestiges of original Tang Dynasty painting .

Maidservants with fans
The second year of Shenglong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height 169cm ,width139cm
Excavated in 1971 from the east wall of the third corridor of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian County.

Maidservants with fans
The second year of Shenglong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height 166cm ,width129cm
Excavated in 1971 from the west wall of the third corridor of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian County.

Eunuchs
The second year of Shenglong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height 140cm ,width167cm
Excavated in 1971 from the west wall of the third corridor of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian County.

Holding a snipe and playing with a dog
The second year of Shenglong (706AD) of the Emperor Zhongzong
Height 169cm ,width133cm
Excavated in 1971 from the west wall of the second corridor of the Tomb of Prince Yide ,Qianxian
County.

Admission Fee: The museum issues 4,000 free ticket every day. (2,500 tickets before 14:00 and 1500 tickets in the afternoon).
1. Individual tourists can get the ticket at the ticket office by their valid certification (such as ID Card or passport).
2. Group tours should be booked 24 hours in advance between 09:00 and 17:00.
3. CNY300 for the Feature Exhibition Hall of Tang Mural Paintings
Reservation Tel: 029—85269547
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday:
09:00 to 17:30 (Nov.15 to Mar.15; tickets available before 16:00);
08:30 to 18:00 (Mar.16 to Nov.14; tickets available before 16:30);
Closed on Mondays
Recommended
Time for a Visit:
Two hours
Bus Route: Take Bus No. 5, 19, 24, 26, 27, 30, 34, 400, 401, 521, 527, 701, 710, 721, 722, or Tourist Bus You 6, or You 8 (610) and get off at Cuihua Lu (Cuihua Road) bus stop.

Other Surrounding Scenic Spots:

huashan Private Tour:

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