Shanxi Provincial Museum

The topological Museum of Shanxi is housed in the Confucian Temple, an ancient palatial compound in Taiyuan. It had been the site of the Buddhist Yanshou Monastery prior to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and had been renamed Baima (White Horse) Monastery before it was burned down in 1880, the 6th year of Qing Emperor Guangxu's reign. The Confucian Temple was then erected on the scorched site, modeling on the design and layout of an imperial palace.

 The whole building of the Confucian Temple consists of three successive compounds constructed along a central axis. Each compound is made of a main hall and two wing-halls and a spacious square in the center. The museum boasts a collection of 93,230 items, which include historical relics representing systematically and typically different chronological ages, plant and animal specimens, and others. The highlights of these relics are stone artifacts unearthed from various localities of the province, a colored pottery basin, an egg-shaped three-hole pottery wind instrument, bronze wares of the Shang (1600-1046 B.C.) and the Zhou (1046-771 B.C.) dynasties, and a Han Dynasty (206 B.C-AD. 220) bronze vessel, which was used for warming wine.

   

 Precious of all are the oaths of alliance written with red dye on jade slabs of the late Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.), and clay moulds for casting bronze wares. A Han Dynasty sculptured stone tiger and stone relief of portraits, and engraved Buddhist figurines on stone slates of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-581), as well as the calligraphy works by Ming Dynasty General Qi Jiguang, and the great thinker Fu Shan, are also priceless collections of the museum. Exhibitions on history include: the 80-year history of the Communist Party of China, ancient history of Shanxi, modern history of Shanxi, and an introduction of the historical relics of the museum.

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