Hunan Provincial Museum - Changsha
I visited this museum in August, 2006 as part of my summer holiday after teaching at the University of Electronic Science and Technology in Chengdu (Sichuan Province) for Summer English Camp.

Hunan Provincial Museum is located on No. 50, Dongfeng Lu, Changsha City, next to the Revolutionary Martyr's Park. It covers an area of 50,000 square meters (about 12.2 acres) with a construction area of 20,000 square meters (about 4.9 acres).

First built in 1951, the museum was open to the public in July 1974. It has gathered together most curios unearthed in Hunan Province, unfolding the cultural development of Hunan Province over thousands of years.

This museum has a collection of more than 110,000 objects, over 763 of which are top grade cultural relics. Most of these objects were discovered by archaeological excavation. What's more, the museum has gathered together nearly all the fine works unearthed in different parts of Hunan Province.

According to the various textures, the cultural relics in Hunan Provincial Museum can be classified into the following kinds: bronze, silk paintings and books, lacquers, textiles, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy. These cultural relics include stone implements and pottery from the Neolithic Age, bronze wares of the Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BCE) and Zhou Dynasty (11th - 221 BCE), and celadon wares from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220 CE) to the Sui Dynasty (581 - 618 CE) and the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 CE).

Some masterpieces by famous scholars like Wang Xizhi, a famous calligrapher from the Tang Dynasty, and Wang Fuzhi, a great philosopher of the late Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 CE) and the early Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 CE) are also on display. Cultural relics unearthed in Mawangdui Han Tombs are the highlights in the museum.

The following cultural relics unearthed in Mawangdui Han Tombs are highly recommended because of the amazement they have brought to people. The first one is the tomb and corpse of Xin Zhui, circa 2,000 years ago, which is well preserved. Her skin is moist and her organs are still well protected, even after having been unearthed for more than 30 years. The second relic is a T-shaped colored silk painting. It is not only still intact but also has gorgeous color. The contents of this painting are various, giving you a full picture of lives in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 CE). The third one is a plain gauze garment. It is about 128 centimeters (about 4.2 feet) long but only weighs 48 grams (about 1.7 ounces). This garment is perhaps the most significant, because it proves the existence of very advanced textile technology in the Han Dynasty (206BC - 220 CE) when China was called 'the country of silk'.
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