Have You Been to Sichuan Museum?
Cr. Sichuan Museum
Previously we visited the Chengdu Museum, and if that did not yet satisfy your appetite, how about we take another trip, this time to Sichuan Museum. The collection here is quite formidable in both quantity and quality, with more than 320,000 items being curated including over 50,000 precious cultural relics. The curator categorizes the exhibits based on materials and themes, which are then put on display in different halls, and currently quite a few number of exhibition halls are opened to the public such as the Gallery of Bronze Ware, Gallery of Ceramics and Pottery and Stone Carvings' Gallery of Han Dynasty in Sichuan, in addition to numerous temporary exhibitions. Next, let us check out the few halls most worthy of your time at the museum.
Cr. Sichuan Museum
Tips: From the front gate of the Sichuan Museum, the natural path leads directly to the second floor, so remember to look out for the route for the first floor if you would like to see the exhibits below.
Gallery of Bronze Ware
Chinese bronze ware are noted for the exquisiteness and aesthetic value, enjoy extraordinary reputation in the realm of global bronze ware, and represent the remarkable technological ingenuity and sophisticated culture in bronze development in China more than five millennia ago. The bronze ware on display at the Sichuan Museum are mostly those from the Western Zhou dynasty and Warring States period (1,100 B.C. to 221 B.C.). Around roughly 1,600 B.C., bronze ware from the Bashu region gradually emerged with its own unique characteristics after the area's continual exchanges with the Central Plain region. Since the 1950s, numerous archaeological discoveries have been found across Sichuan, resulting in the reemergence of a wide array of bronze ware noted for their distinct Bashu qualities.
This exhibit is a relic from the Warring States period (475 B.C. to 221 B.C.), and is ornately intricate through and through, thus the museum has set up magnifying glass for visitors to see and appreciate all the minute details. The bronze seal has been adorned with animal face pattern on the top, and features a special mark also seen on other bronze ware unearthed from the same tomb, which proves the noble background of the tomb owner.
Bronze Lei With Beast Patterns And Coiling-dragon Lid
The lei and the zun are common ritual ware seen in Bashu's bronze ware culture, and are among the most abundantly found Bashu bronze ware, also noted for their longest period of prevalence and most complex motifs. The bronze vessel (lei) with coiled dragon lid and animal face pattern was used as a vessel to hold liquor, and it is part of a five-piece series at the museum, through which visitors may get a glimpse into the ceremonial life of the bronze age.
Gallery of Ceramics
The histories of pottery and porcelain could trace their roots to some 15,000 years ago. Porcelains appeared during the Xia and Shang dynasties (about 2,070 B.C. to 1,046 B.C.), and the art of porcelain craftsmanship was already quite refined during the two Han dynasties (202 B.C. to 220 A.D.). Bashu's pottery and porcelain production also experienced a similar course of advancement, and at Sichuan Museum we can see how pottery and porcelain gradually progressed from simple colored ware to more sophisticated forms.
Tomb of Zhu Yuelian area
In 1970, the tomb of Zhu Yuelian was excavated in northern Chengdu, and the Sichuan Museum was one of the participants at the time. Inside the Pottery and Porcelain Hall, the museum specially designed an area based on Ming dynasty architectural style to showcase relevant exhibits including a diverse range of color glazed ceramic figurines, wooden imperial posthumous records, imperial posthumous seals and other objects.
Scene of Bank Kiln
The Bank Kiln is a style of Chinese kiln, and the well-known Qiong kiln is an example of the Bank Kiln structure. Perhaps all the "pots and vases" might be a bit overwhelming, then take a break and check out a replica of the Bank Kiln that produced these exhibits.
Pottery and Stone Carvings' Gallery of Han Dynasty in Sichuan
The two Han dynasties (202 B.C. to 220 A.D.) constitute a rather glorious era in ancient Chinese history, and in general this was an age of improving feudalism, and carved and painted bricks and stones, two representatives of the ceramics and stone arts of Han dynasty, are outcomes of the "exuberant burial" custom of that era. These bricks and stones not only documented the production, lifestyle and world view of people of that time, but are artworks passed down from generation to generation.
Stone Coffin Engraved With Acrobatics On Feast
There are relief carvings on four sides of the stone coffin, with the left and right respectively featuring the tomb owner reveling in various performances and spectacles during lifetime and in the heavenly afterlife. Though small in size, the stone coffin demonstrates the tomb owner's strong desire to ascend into the heaven as an immortal and anticipation for the Elysium in the afterlife.
Wangxiaoyuan Relief Stele
Engraved during the third year of the Yongjian Era (128 A.D.) of the Eastern Han dynasty, the stone stele features relief carvings decor on four sides. The rustic and direct inscriptions in the clerical/official script can be seen at the bottom of the stele, which record tomb owner Wang Xiaoyuan's life and the time of the erection of the stele. Don't worry if the inscriptions are hard to read, the museum has arranged a rubbed copy version of the text on the side, and those confident in their Chinese proficiency could try it as a test of "reading comprehension".
Other than the aforesaid exhibition halls, the Sichuan Museum is also famous for its Zhang Daqian's Art Gallery, Gallery of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy and Gallery of Sichuan Crafts, Gallery of Sichuan Ethnic Culture marked by the prominent and diverse ethnic colors and flavors, Gallery of Tibetan Buddhsim and Gallery of Buddha Statues from Wanfo Temple that document the development of Buddhsim in the Sichuan region, among other spaces. In addition, the temporary exhibit Paestum A City of The Ancient Mediterranean will remain in place at the Sichuan Museum until February 26, 2020.
At present, entry into the Sichuan Museum is free of charge. Visitors using second-generation identity card may visit the museum directly, while visitors with documentations like passport and Foreign Permanent Resident ID Card could obtain an IC entry card at the visitor service center.
The Sichuan Museum is closed every Monday (but remains open if Monday is a public holiday)
Summer hours: 09:00-21:00 (last entry at 20:00)
Winter hours: 09:00-20:00 (last entry at 19:00)
Audio guide service
Follow the official WeChat Public Account of the Sichuan Museum and chose "audio guide" service to hear pre-recorded explanations and information in Chinese. For those that require guides in other languages or for groups, proceed to the information desk for more consultation.
The museum has also been outfitted with other amenities for visitors such as storage, wheelchair and baby strollers. Families could also acquire free interactive handbooks that are divided for different age groups, which function provide both on-site guidance and educational purposes.
Last but not least, check out this pic. Without phonetic notations, how many of these uncommon Chinese characters on the bronze ware do you recognize?
Photos by Van