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Xian Museum

Xian Museum
 
 
Xian Museum, located in the same compound as the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, was opened to the public on May 18th, 2007. The museum building is designed by famous architect Zhang Jinqiu, based on the ancient Chinese belief of “heaven is round and the earth square”. It covers a floor area of 16,000 square meters, of which 5,000 square meters are exhibition area.
 
Xian Museum houses 130,000 artifacts, among which 14,400 pieces are classified as above national third-class cultural relics. Its exhibition consists of circular exhibition hall, two basic exhibition halls and four theme display rooms. All the ancient artifacts in the basic exhibition halls are arranged chronologically so as to give visitors a general idea of the city developments and social situations of Xi'an, the national capital city for 13 dynasties, lasting over one thousand years. The museum is characterized by its rich cultural relics with high-grade, typical representation and wide influencing effect.
 
There are totally three floors in the museum. On the underground floor are the two basic exhibition halls. The ground floor has one theme exhibition hall of Buddha statues and the temporary exhibition one. The other three theme display rooms, located on the second floor, are of jade pieces, paintings and calligraphy works and seal pieces respectively.
 
After coming into the museum, the “maps” carved on the ground floor show the locations of ancient capital, Xi'an in Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang Dynasties. Actually 13 dynasties founded their capitals in Xi'an in the past 1,100 years.
 
Walking downstairs to the lobby of the underground floor, viewing several city models in different dynasties, we may realize the developments and changes of ancient Xi’an as a city with a history of 3,000 years, as a national capital for over 1100 years.
 
 
1. The model of the city, Chang'an in the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907)
 
First, let's look at the model of Chang'an city in the Tang Dynasty for its largest size:
 
Emperor Yangjian established Sui Dynasty in 581AD and the next year he started to build the capital of Daxing in Xi'an.
 
Just 37 years later, Sui Dynasty was replaced by the Tang Dynasty founded by Emperor Liyuan in 618AD, and the city's name was changed to Chang'an. The city of Chang’an covered an area of 84 square kilometers, consisting of the Palace area, imperial city and outer city. With 14 streets from east to west, 11 streets from south to north, the whole city was divided to 108 city blocks. As a result, the layout of the city was like a chess board. Palace Taiji, Daming and Xingqing were all grand and magnificent. East and West market were the business centers where domestic and foreign merchants traded. More than 100 Buddhist and Taoist temples scattered in the city.
 
The population of the city was estimated to be over a million, among which ten thousands of foreigners lived here for long time. Based on these facts, we can say it was probably the largest city in the world 1,300 years ago. During the Tang Dynasty, China’s politics, economy and culture flourished. Everything such as literature, art craftsmanship, trade, etc, was developed to the top level, which was not surpassed by, not even equal to by the later dynasties. It was the golden age because of its prosperity as well as its openness to the outside.
 
Today, remains of several royal palaces, temples and the city wall are under protection. Especially, the Big and Small Wild Goose Pagodas are still standing and telling the grandeur and magnificence of the great Tang Empire. 
 
 
2. The model of Chang'an city in the Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD)
 
Emperor Liubang set up the Han Dynasty in 202BC and built the city of Chang'an to the south of River Wei, which covered an area of 36 square kilometers. Since the opening of the Silk Road, it became the first metropolis in the history of China. Nine dynasties founded their capitals at the site of Han's Chang'an afterwards, totally lasting for about 800 years.
 
3. The model of Linde Hall of Daming Palace, Tang Dynasty
 
Here is a model of Linde Hall of Daming Palace, a two-storied construction combined with three-connected-building. It existed and functioned for over 220 years. Famous for its grand style and exceptional structure, Linde Hall is a masterpiece among architectural buildings of the Tang Dynasty.
 
4. The model of Xian city in Song (960-1279) and Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)
 
In the Song and Yuan Dynasty, Xi'an was called Jingzhao Fu and Fengyuan Lu respectively.
 
5. The model of Xian city in Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
 
In the early years of Ming, or in 1369, the city got its present name, Xian. The city was enlarged to a rectangular-shaped one, with an area of 11.5 square kilometers,bigger than that in Song and Yuan times. The city wall was rebuilt with a total length of 13.74 km, covering some remains of Chang’an City Wall in Tang. The main gate on each side included a main tower, arrow tower and draw bridge tower. Moreover watch towers stand in certain distances on the top, the whole city wall looks gorgeous. After several renovations in Qing and modern times, it is the most grand and complete defense system to date in China.
 
Basic Exhibition
The Circular Exhibition Hall
 
Before we go into the Basic Exhibition Halls, we pay a visit to the exhibits in the circular hall, where we may realize the city's historical evolvements during the course of over 3,000 years.
 
Xian, is a city where the most numbers of dynasties founded their capitals in Chinese history and lasted for the longest time. From Western Zhou Dynasty, a prosperous slavery society, to the great Tang Dynasty, a Zenith in Chinese feudal society, 13 dynasties founded their capitals in Xi’an, with a history over 1, 100 years.
 
Xian history—Zhou and Qin
 
As early as 11th century BC, the Zhou tribes moved to River Feng area to the west of Xi'an where King Wen and Wu established Capital Feng and Hao in succession, which became the capital of Western Zhou Dynasty from 1100BC-770BC. Capital Feng was the political center; Capital Hao was the memorial site.
 
After over five hundred years of political turmoil and warfare, the first Emperor of Qin Dynasty unified China and founded Qin Empire in 221BC, with Xianyang as its capital, located to the north of River Wei. He built many great palaces, among which the E’fang Palace was the biggest one. But this palace is believed not completed for Qin people revolted against their rulers at the end of Qin Dynasty. Ironically, this first powerful empire lasted only 17 years for its emperors’ ruthless rule over their subjects, envying heavy taxes and ravaging people by a kind of slave labor.
 
Here are a group of bricks, tiles and water pipes left at the site of Capital Feng, Hao and E’fang Palace. Qin bricks and Han tiles are regarded as the paradigm of bricks and tiles in ancient China. However, bricks and tiles had already been made as early as Western Zhou (770BC). Tile production technique was advanced that time, but square bricks were made coarse and fragile then. Some of these tiles and sewers on display here are from Capital Feng and Hao.
 
Xian history—Han Dynasty
 
In 202BC, Liubang, one of the leaders of the rebelled army at the end of Qin Dynasty, founded the Western Han Dynasty and built the city of Chang’an as its capital, to the northwest of today's Xi'an City, to the south of River Wei.
 
Western Han Dynasty with a long history of 210 years was ended by Wang Mang who usurped the throne and built “Xin” Dynasty and set up his capital in Chang'an as well; but he changed the writing. “Xin” Dynasty only lasted for a short time (8-23AD).
 
Liuxiu renamed the capital city as Chang’an again, after he established the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD).
 
Here on display are semi-round tiles and board tiles which were mainly discovered at the site of Han’s Chang'an.
 
The method of making tiles is: first making round tiles by coiling up clay ropes, next cutting a round tile to two half-round ones, or cutting to one-third sized board ones. Half-round tiles cover the gap between two board tiles on the roof. A round-tile covers the end of a wood eave for both protection and decoration. Both round and half-round tiles may bear patterns of flowers and characters for decoration.
 
Xian history—Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907)
 
The Eastern Han Dynasty collapsed in 202AD. From 220AD onward to 581AD, it was a period of great political turmoil and warfare. By 581AD, the Sui emperor put an end to the division of the country and unified China again. However, because of its brutality, the Sui dynasty lived for only 37 years, which was replaced by the Tang dynasty. Both the Sui and Tang dynasties made Chang'an as their capitals located exactly at the same place where the present city is. Chang’an became the largest city in the world from 618AD to 907AD because of its grandeur, prosperity and openness to foreign countries. Sui and Tang reached their zenith in feudal Chinese history. China, during that time, was a developed country, with the most advanced civilization and the most flourished economy. What more, China of the Tang Dynasty melted the western culture with traditional Chinese culture and made Chang’an an economic and cultural exchanges center in the world.
 
Here you may see a pair of gilt animal head applique, each of which has a ring, were used as door knockers. The animal head applique is supposed to show people’s social status and scare off evils, so it is often in shape of lion. But why does this one have an ugly face?
 
There is a legend story about it: An animal in water, named Shuili, was so ugly that he did not want to be seen. One day Master Luban wanted to have a look at Shuili and asked him to expose his head above the water. Shuili was afraid that Lu may draw him so he asked Luban put his hands behind. But Lu immediately drew Shuili's face on ground by foot at the moment when he opened his shell. Shuili realized what happened and shut his shell, sank into the water and never exposed his head any more.
 
Later people think that Shuili is a kind of shellfish or escargot who shuts its body in shell for defense. People made Shuili head appliqués on door for the meaning of its defense function.
 
Xian history—Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911)
 
Chang'an was no more the capital of China after the Tang Dynasty for the national capital moved eastwards, but was still an important city in the middle-west of China.
 
In the early years of Ming Dynasty, the city got its present name Xi’an. In 1370, Zhushuang, the second son of the first Emperor of Ming Dynasty, was titled the King of Qin in Xi’an. In the same year, the city of Xi'an saw the construction of the king Qin's palace and the enlargement of the city. The Bell Tower and Drum Tower were built in the downtown area at the same time.
Qing’s Xi'an city remained the layout of Ming’s, except for the constructions of Manchu area and the south area where the Han army stationed.
 
The first exhibition hall of the basic exhibition
The grouped collections of cultural relics and artifacts on display here,dated from different periods of time,have reflected the social situations, people's life in every aspect and shown the prosperity of Xi'an in its history.
 
We start from the first hall on the left side which is about the Zhou and Qin Civilizations and the first part of Charms of the Han and Tang dynasties.
 
The Zhou Dynasty is renowned for its bronze culture in ancient Chinese history characterized by thin bronze vessels with bronze inscription on interior side which has provided rich and valuable data and information for the study on Zhou Dynasty 11th century BC to 770BC. The exquisite bronze wares have reproduced the extravagant life led by the royal families and the aristocrats. After the Warring States period, iron wares became prevalent, which promoted the economic development and laid a solid foundation for the social transformation from slavery society to feudal society.
 
1. A bronze tri-pot with interconnected thunder patterns
This bronze tri-pot bears clouds-intermingled-design on the lower part, considering its shape, it is supposed to be a piece from the early Zhou (11th BC-770BC). A bronze tri-pot was not only a utensil, but also a symbolic figure of man’s status and power. Bronze tri-pot was the most significant among ritual bronze vessels. There are several other bronze tri-pots beside this one.
 
2. A bronze “YOU” with Taotie mask and a loop handle
“YOU” is a wine container, used as an altar ware. Altar wine was brewed by millet and tulip and dedicated to gods or bestowed to meritorious vassals.
 
Taotie, a legendary animal, a greedy guttler, only having a head with a wide mouth, was considered as a symbol of greed, always appeared on the surface of bronze utensils as a kind of decorations. Considering the patterns of Taotie and Kui, a one-legged monster in a shape of dragon, this “You” possesses Western Zhou's features.
 
3. A bronze plate with inscription Lv Fuyu  
It was cast in the late western Zhou, with two looped handles attached. 60-word bronze inscriptions, inscribed on the interior bottom record one of King Zhou’s bestowals.
 
4. Yong Yu,a bronze container with inscription Yong
It is 47cm in height, 36kg in weight with a caliber of 58cm, which is used to hold water or food. It is one of Grade One cultural relics of the state, and one of the biggest Yu from the Western Zhou, discovered in Lantian County, this province.  The jar has beast patterns in leaf shape on the belly, dragon and Qiequ patterns on its loop stand, with a 125-word inscription on the interior belly. The inscription goes that Duke Yi conferred land to Shi Yong under the authorization of the emperor. It has vital significance in the research of tenure and land in the western Zhou Dynasty.
 
5. Gui Wei, a bronze food container with inscription Wei
Gui, a kind of bronze food container, holding cooked millet, rice and sorghum, is often used for banquets and sacrifices.
 
Strict hierarchy system was carried on in the Western Zhou Dynasty. Dings (a bronze tri-pot) in even number and Guis in odd number were used together when banquets and sacrifices were going on. A Son of Heaven used 9 Dings 8 Guis, a vassal used 7 Dings 6 Guis, an official used 5 Dings 4 Guis and scholars used 3 Dings 2 Guis, subjects were forbidden from them.
 
These four Guis carry the same shape, weight, design and inscriptions. The whole vessel has the Kui dragon pattern as its main design. Both the lid and the main vessel body have a 55-word inscription of the same content, which says one day in August a year, the king was in Kang Palace, Earl Rong took Wei to meet the king who granted Wei some horse ornaments and knee hide. To honor of the bestowal of the King, Wei had the four Guis made.
 
6. Chime bells and Yong bell of Western Zhou
Noblemen ate with Dings arrayed and chime bells rung in Zhou dynasty and lived a luxury life.
 
Bell developed from Nao,appeared first in Western Zhou and was beaten mainly for telling time only after the Tang Dynasty.
 
There are three kinds of bells: Yong bell  has a long handle on the top; Niu bell has a square or an animal-shaped knot on the top; Bo bell is cast with a prolate ring or an animal-shaped knot on the top. No matter what kind it is, a bell is flat on the top and curve at the edge. A single bell is called Te Bell and a set of bells is called chime bells.
 
7. Bronze Yan, cooking utensil with Taotie patterns
Yan is a cooking steamer. This bronze Yan has two parts, the upper part is Zeng containing food, and the lower part is Li containing water, with grates between. Taking use of steam to cook food, Yan has the same function of today’s steamer.
 
Pottery Yan had appeared at Neolithic age, while bronze Yan appeared in the early Shang and was still used in Han and Jin Dynasty. Yan may have two different shapes, a whole piece and two separated pieces. Yan was no more popularly used after Han Dynasty since the evolvement of cooking stoves.
 
8. Tools from Western Zhou Dynasty
Here on display are a set of tools. Though bronze culture was prosperous in western Zhou, tools were not made of bronze for it is costly. Daily utensils were made of pottery, tools were made of stones, wood and animal bones.
 
9. A cocoon-shaped pottery pot
This cocoon-shaped pot was popularly used as a wine container in the area of Guanzhong basin during the periods of Warring States (475BC-221BC). It is said that it was used for defense as well. Put it in the earth with the mouth exposed above the ground, it may sound when the enemy is approaching.
 
10. Weapons, devices of horse and chariot
Here on display is a set of weapons, devices of horse and chariot.
 
Overthrowing the Shang Dynasty by King Wuwang and the unification of China by the First Qin Emperor both depended on a powerful military. The capital was not only a ruling center but also had a military fort with rigorous defenses. Frequent warfare gave birth to diversified arts of war and a variety of weapons. Chariot battle was predominant in the Zhou and Qin dynasties, with infantry as the supplement. Most weapons of the time were bronze. Iron weapons were found as early as the Warring-states Period. Weapons on display here are dagger-axe, halberd, and bird-shaped stick top with gold and silver inlays.
 
Prosperity and Peacefulness of Han and Tang
During the Han and Tang dynasties, economy and culture were highly developed. With 500 thousand people in the Han Chang'an city and more than a million in the Tang Chang’an city, the population of the capitals grew dramatically. The palace buildings of the time were magnificent, and royal residence was extravagant. The nine markets of the Han Chang'an city and East and West Market of the Tang Chang’an city were flourishing commercial centers of the time. The prosperity of business and peace of life in Chang’an can be easily seen from the abundant excavated relics like the pottery storehouse, livestock, production tools, living appliances, and coins.
 
1. A stove and Mou
On the left is a set of cooking utensils. This stove is similar to the present honeycomb briquette stove. It consists of stove body, stove door and chimney. The utensil on the stove is Fu,a water container. Yan above Fu, contains food. It is a composed set of a steamer pot.
 
On the right side is a bronze Mou with two handles. Among funeral objects, Ding, Fu and Mou are placed together which gave the evidence that bronze Mou was mainly used as a cooking utensil. It was originally a cooking utensil of Ba and Shu culture. However, Qin people began to use it in late warring states. Many of them unearthed together with weapons show that they may be used by army soldiers as well.
 
2. Shanglin bronze Jian
In 1977, 22 bronze vessels were unearthed at the site of Shanglin Royal Park of the Han Dynasty. This Jian, a water container is one of them. People used the water surface as a mirror since it is quiet and smooth in ancient time. There are inscriptions on the edge of the mouth in clerical script which give its capacity, weight, number and the place where it was placed.
 
3. Abronze Fang container with gold and silver inlays of clouds
Gilded gold or silver is a traditional Chinese decoration method on metal surface. Hammered threads or thin slices of gold or silver are inlayed on metal surface to form different patterns, designs and characters.
 
On this Fang, Clouds-intermingled-pattern circles the mouth rim, and big Clouds-connected- patterns in tilted pane appear on surface of both the neck part and the body. This square pot, with elaborately designed pattern, is an elegant art work with practical function.
 
A few bronze lamps and incense burners were unearthed together with this Fang. According to the burial location inside Xi’an City Wall and quality of these cultural relics, these wares could be left behind from imperial palaces.
 
4. Porcelains in the early periods of time
These pieces of Porcelains are not as beautiful as the ones made today. These proto-porcelains came into being in Shang Dynasty, whose body; glaze and the firing temperature are all different from these of modern porcelains.
 
5. Gold discs, duck weights and gold in the shape of Qilin beast's claw  
These gold discs were not for decoration purposes in the Han Dynasty, but were used as currency, named “persimmon gold”. During that time, gold was a kind of money measured by weight, cut to pieces accordingly, with Jin as its measuring unit.
 
These four duck-shaped gold pieces are used as weights, similar to paper weights, to press on the four corners of bamboo mats in case of curling up. Mats weights can be made of different materials; bronze is the most popular one. They could be made in other shapes as well.
 
Gold in shape of Qilin claw was very rarely found in ancient China. After Emperor WuDi once dreamed of heavenly horses and Kylins, which were regarded as auspicious animals, gold in Qilin claw was made and bestowed to officials by him.
 
6. A bronze lamp, incense burner, gold gilt lamb-shaped lamp
There are many cultural relics on display here. Some of them are related to people’s daily life at that time.
 
Oil lamps were made of pottery first. Bronze lamps appeared in the Spring and Autumn periods of time. Till to the Han Dynasty, there were many different shapes of lamps; the lamb- shaped lamp is one of them.
 
Here is a plain gilt lamb-shaped lamp. A lid riveted with the lamb’s back, lift to the head of the lamp can serve as a lamp tray. When the oil light is lit up, it seems that a sacred lamb with light on its head is coming to the world.
 
Another lamb-shaped lamp was discovered in a king’s tomb in Hebei Province, which has the same size and shape as this one. All of these artifacts may tell us this kind of lamp was only used by kings in the Han Dynasty.
 
Here are two incense burners in exquisite shape. Incense burner may be used for three purposes:
 
First, people took use of the incense smell to fumigate clothes, since there was no perfume in ancient time. To be polite, officials must fumigate their court clothes before they met their king. Until to the end of Qing Dynasty, with perfume’ introduction, this fumigation became unpopular. Secondly, burning incense was to wipe off moldy air when ancient people were doing some readings.
 
Last, ancient people offered burned incenses to Buddha figures, ancestors and saints images. These two incense burners are not only practical utensils, but also graceful ornaments.
 
There are something else are on display here: Bronze wine warmers with design of dragons and a bronze iron board.
 
7. A large gilt bronze Zhong
Zhong is a kind of wine container. Two large gilt bronze Zhongs were unearthed from a Han Dynasty tomb in 2003. They are gilded all over the body, with a height of 78cm. It’s the largest one among those similar discovered so far from the Han Dynasty. When unearthed it was filled with 26 kg of wine in green with nice strong flavor. It is the best preserved ancient wine, in the biggest volume so far in China. It is identified to contain 0.10% of alcohol and provides important data for the study on wine brewage and wine culture. Vessels unearthed at the same time also included the other 17 pieces of bronze tripods, fangs; 5 cocoon-shaped kettles and 101 pieces of jade.
 
8. Stoves, granaries and husbandry
These relics on display here are funeral objects. Stove is a kind of cooking utensils. Many stove figurines have been discovered in tombs ranging from Han to Northern Wei. Most of them are made of pottery; there are several bronze ones, but few gold and silver ones were discovered.
 
Granary is used to store grains and a symbol of abundant food. In early western Han Dynasty, a barn is always drummed-shaped and flat-bottomed with a round open mouth and a bowl-shaped lid. In Middle Western Han Dynasty, granary was in round column shape, with tri-stands underneath. In Eastern Han Dynasty, the lower part of the body is contracted, flat-bottomed, without stands underneath.
 
Primitive husbandry started at the Neolithic Age. A big number of domestic animals were the sign of wealth for a family and a tribe. In the Han Dynasty, pig husbandry was developed and promoted by Han government. Since plough by cattle was popular in Han Dynasty, more attention was paid to cattle breeding. Horse was titled the head of six domestic animals in ancient time. Chariot horses and cavalry horses were mainly used in warfare so that horse breeding was very popular in Qin and Han dynasties.
 
Da Wan was an ancient country, in today's middle Asia. Da Wan Horse, in nice shape, was obedient and high-speedy, capable of long march. His shoulders may sweat something like blood, hence the name of Blood Sweat Horse, which was introduced from Da Wan and crossbred with local horses in the Han Dynasty.
 
9. Gold and silver articles in the Tang Dynasty
Gold wares came into being in Shang Dynasty; silver wares appeared in spring and autumn periods of time. But they were only used for decoration. In Wei and Jin Times, Persian silver wares were taken into China. Influenced by this, many gold and silver wares with exotic styles entered royal and aristocratic families in Sui and Tang dynasties. These gold and silver products made in royal workshops are called “officially made”. Those made by folk smiths are called “professionally made”. With the support from the emperors, the technical operation and production scale of “officially made” were at a leading position.
 
The Tang Dynasty, the golden era of ancient China, created a big number of delicate gold and silver products, in a wide variety, with unique designs, rich and colorful patterns. In the term of functions, it includes cooking wares, daily use wares and decoration wares. These artifacts own strong characteristics of the time, mainly bear patterns of animals and plants.
 
Animal-designed products diversified in different postures, full of vigorous power; Plant-designed are beautifully and imposingly made. The Tang Dynasty saw many gold and silver products on the subject of hunting, making up, singing and dancing, which reflects its various social lives that time. All of these articles make us realize that gold and silver wares were artistically life-styled in the Tang Dynasty. They were mainly practical wares put together with aesthetics appreciation in perfect harmony.
 
10 White porcelains in the Tang Dynasty
There is a saying in old time: Southern China was famous for green porcelains and northern China was renowned for white porcelains. White porcelains came into being in the Southern and Northern dynasties and became popular in the Sui and Tang Dynasty. The body of white porcelain is thin and white, the thinner glazed place looks moist, and the thicker appears to be celadon. The invention of white porcelain leads to that of colored porcelains. So the appearance of white porcelains is the milestone in the history of China’s ceramics.
 
These porcelains with the sign of “Guan”, made in the imperial workshops and only used by the imperial family, are superior in quality and look smooth and glittering. Flower and multivalve shapes are the most distinguished feature owned by Plates and bowls. Analyzing their shapes, porcelain bodies, glazes, technique and the written style of “guan”,experts think these products were made from Quyang Kiln in the Tang Dynasty, which was called Ding kiln in the Song Dynasty.
The porcelains on the right, with the sign of “Ying” were made in Xing Kiln in the Tang Dynasty. Xing Kiln porcelains reflect the highest level of white porcelains made in the Tang. They were tributes paid to the emperors as the most favorite local products. Experts think that “Ying” is related to the royal warehouse. The treasures stored there can only be allocated and used by emperors.
 
11. Gold-coated bronze mirror with design of sea animals and grapes
There created many bronze mirrors in different dynasties.
Sui and Tang Dynasties saw a peak of bronze mirror manufacture, surpassed those of the previous dynasties in terms of the number, variety and the craftsmanship. Various bronze mirrors distinguished in shape with beautiful and elegant patterns on the back side were exquisitely manufactured. The mirror body itself was thick and the surface of the front side was well polished on which people can have clear reflections.
 
Besides the round mirrors, there were square, rhombus and lotus shaped mirrors. Tang created a kind of mirror with a handle as well, which was a great change in the shape of mirrors. Many mirrors carried designs of divine animals, immortals, dragons, birds, and phoenix.
 
On the back of the bronze mirror is mounted a gold plate with hammered design of sea animals and grapes. Gold-plated is a special technique for mirror making in the Tang Dynasty.
 
12. Tri-colored glazed pottery
Tri-colored glazed pottery, a kind of glazed ceramics fired by a low temperature, appeared first during the reign of Emperor Gaozong, and rose to its zenith in Xuanzong's reign.
 
How is tri-colored glazed pottery made? How do these beautiful colors come into being?
 
First, pottery body is made of white clay, fired under a temperature of 1,100ºC. Secondly, different glazes containing copper, iron, cobalt ammine and manganese are put on its surface, and the glazed pottery is fired for the second time in kilns. Lead-oxide latent solvent help these glazes melt and spread free under 800ºC. In this way, a multi-colored glazed pottery ware is produced. Those colored glazes may be in green, yellow, blue, white and brown etc. Tri- color actually is multi-colors.
 
Tri-colored glazed pottery wares were used as funeral objects that time and exported to Japan, Korea, Egypt and Iran. Their kilns have been discovered in Henan, Shaanxi and Hebei Provinces.
 
                 The second Exhibition Hall
This exhibition hall can be divided to two sections, the left one (the second part of the charm of Han and Tang culture), and the right one (the history and culture of the time after Tang).
 
The Han and Tang Chang'an cities were most civilized and prosperous in the ancient history of the city, when institutions, poetry, songs,music, dances,calligraphy and painting flourished unprecedentedly. The diverse pottery figurines unearthed vividly reproduced the scene of “peace and tranquility of people living in Chang'an city”.
 
1. Pottery figures of the Han Dynasty
Pottery figure, used as funeral object, appeared in the spring and Autumn Periods of Time. Pottery figures of the Han Dynasty carried on Qin’s manufacture style, but became smaller in size; its subject-matter was varied, including peasants, artisans, chefs and palace maids etc. They covered a wide rang to reflect the social reality.
 
2. Singing and dancing pottery figures of Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty inherited the music system of Qin Dynasty, enlarged its institution,which was responsible for collecting folk songs and ballads. A big number of folk songs and ballads are collected in order to provide reference for revising political policies, and recreate performance for the royal court.
 
Han's singing and dancing pottery figures were varied in postures and colors. Wind and drum music originated from the minorities at borders; later introduced into royal court in the Han Dynasty, played for court meetings, holidays and army, with a feature of honor guard music.
 
These pottery figures holding music instruments are made vividly and perfectly.
 
3. Yellow-color glazed dancing and musician figures
These three glazed pottery statues, discovered in Chang'an County, Xi'an in 1985, were from the Sui Dynasty. One is dancing, another two are musician figures.
 
This slender female figure is dancing, with her right arm rising to ear, left arm lowering at her left side. She looks as if she is dancing to the music. Another two hair-dressed musician figures are kneeling on a rectangular board. One of them is blowing Xiao, the other is blowing Sheng. Both of them are absorbed in playing musical instruments and are sculptured very naturally.
 
Sui human figures are slender, single colored and mostly made of porcelains.
Tang human figures are plump, multi-colored and mainly made of pottery, including tri-color glazed and painted ones.
 
4. Noblewomen Statues of Tang Dynasty
These female statues, bearing strong Tang Dynasty style, are unearthed from a Tang Dynasty tomb. Thirteen of total 17 pieces are on display here.
 
They all have a full figure, look plain and realistic, different in postures, full of verve, and reproduce the images of noblewomen of Tang Dynasty.
 
The beauty of Tang female figures is not isolated from the reality. Female pottery figures, made at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, were tall and tender with solemn dress patterns. After the reign of Empress Wu, the most prosperous time came into being. Accordingly the sculpture art at this period of time possessed a new style. In terms of female statues, they were gradually plump in figure and their five sense organs concentrated, with broad clothes, wide sleeves and belts.
 
This group of female statues looks coquettish, open-minded and calm, is the reflection of the special temperament of Tang women.
 
5. A tri-colored glazed running horse
It was unearthed from a Tang tomb in Xi'an in 1966. This horse is running with four hooves in air. A smiling boy is sitting on the saddle, with two arms stretching forward and holding the rein. The glazed horse, in red and yellow, is vigorous and powerful. The rider, in blue, is calm and serene. The whole statue, colorful and shinning, is a wonderful piece among tri-colored glazed pottery figures in the Tang Dynasty.
 
It is supposed that the Silk Road was originated from Zhang Qian’s diplomatic mission to the western regions to seek for allies for the Western Han to defeat its nomad enemy. Later the Silk Road developed into a trade and cultural exchange route. China-made silk was shipped from Xi’an, the very starting point in the east, to the mid-west and foreign products were taken to China. Foreign envoys, overseas students, businessmen gathered in Chang’an. The imperial court set up special institutions to take the reign of foreign affairs. Nestorianist temple was built in Chang’an. Hu (people of the western regions in ancient China) music, dance and costumes became popular in the city, which greatly enriched the material and cultural life for Tang people.
 
6. A grey glazed camel
This grey glazed camel was unearthed in Xian in 1988. It seems ready for leaving, although it is still not moving.
 
Camel, the main form of transportation, carried silk, china wares and other products to the middle-west and took products back home. This camel's shape and manner is sculptured to the most and reflects a high art level.
 
7. A darker man figurine
This black man figurine of the Tang Dynasty appears to be a child with curled hair, broad noses and thick lips. So far not many black man figurines have been discovered. But this one is sculptured so vividly that it suggests that the artisan were familiar to the black. The fact tells us that black men had already come to China as early as 1000 years ago.
 
8. A painted statue of a girl resting on a camel back
This camel is standing on a rectangular board and a girl is sitting with her two legs both on one side of the camel. The girl is sleeping with her two arms on the front hump and embracing her face. This camel is raising his head and looking forward, seemly ready to go forward but looks tired.
 
Pottery figurines of camels and riders are popularly sculptured in the Tang Dynasty. The Tang artisan caught the most p, , erfec, , t s, c, , ene to, show the journey along the Silk Road is d, iff, , icult. They made camel appropriately bigger by means of exaggeration and romance. The fact that we can, 't see the girl's face leads to a kind of reverie, full of romance tone.
 
9. A camel with a pack on his back
This pottery camel, discovered in Chang'an County of Xi'an, opens his eyes wide and raises his head high. A saddle shelf between the two humps is packed of silk. Pots, kettles and some other objects are hung on both sides of the pack. This packed camel is the most typical one among those tri-color glazed camel statues, which proves that camel is the main means of transportation along the Silk Road, and reflects the economy exchanges between the East and the West.
 
10. A stone bed covered by stone screens from North Wei (557-581)
This stone bed, a kind of coffin, is composed by the base, ten pieces of stone screens and five stone legs. A complete one of linear paintings is carved on each of the screens. These linear carving paintings portray aristocrats' rich life. The male images on the fourth and fifth screens wear clothes of northern nomads, which show the cultural exchanges between China and other countries.
 
This stone bed is unearthed from Kanye's tomb in the north of Xi’an. According to its epitaph, Kanye, from Kang country, one of nomadic nation, became an official during North Wei (386-534). This is the only one of Suli tombs that took use of linear carving paintings to show their life. These linear carving paintings have used the composition mode of landscape paintings which originally sprouted from Wei and Jin Periods of time. They provide great values for the study on the cultural exchanges, Chinese paintings and art.
 
11. Shijun’s tomb of North Zhou (557-581)
This stone coffin is unearthed in Shijun’s tomb from North Zhou. According to its epitaph, this is a joint tomb of a couple; the man was named Shi, who was a county governor, buried in 580. This stone coffin is a house-structure with a nine-ridged roof on. Beautiful linear carving paintings on the subject of Suli's religions have been appealing to the academic circles. These carvings taking use of relief, color painting and gilding are rich in content. Suli’ written words are carved on the surface. Suli, an ethnic group, lived in middle Asia, famous for doing business along the ancient Silk Road in the Tang Dynasty. Their commerce promoted the economic and cultural exchanges, built a bridge between farming and nomadic civilization, between the east and the west.
 
Nowadays, Suli language is no more used. These inscription words have provided material for the study on Suli written language and culture, and make us realize more about their life in China in the past.
 
12. Lidan's Tomb of North Zhou
This stone coffin is exquisitely made and unearthed from Lidan’s tomb, an Indian Brahminwho came to China during North Wei (386-534).
 
What is Brahmin? There was strict hierarchy in ancient India, which divided Indians to four different castes: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. Brahmin is the super one, in charge of thearchy. Every caste is hereditary, no intermarriage between two different castes. Nowadays India still remains castes in some ways.
 
This is a joint-tomb of a couple. The lady got no more than a gold coin of East Rome in her mouth. The linear carving paintings including Chinese legendary figures Fuxi and Nvwa and also tutelary which may be related to the Buddhism, reflect the Buddhism’s spread in China.
 
Lidan's tomb is another important discovery along the ancient Silk Road. It is the only tomb that has a record of Indian Brahmin so far discovered in China. Its discovery has great significance on the study of China- India cultural exchanges.
 
13. Naked pottery figurines of the Han Dynasty
Six naked figurines on display here are obvious in physiological features without arms. The holes on shoulders suggest actually they were in clothes which had rotten after centuries past.
 
These physiologically featured figurines prove the fact they intentionally modeled real people and served the dead emperor in the next life. They are made smaller, but the formative art is as nice as that of the Qin. Face outline, five sense organs and facial expressions are exactly and vividly portrayed in each head.
 
14. Acrobatic figurines of the Tang Dynasty
Seven pottery figurines playing a pyramid game are acrobatic figurines of the Tang. The Tang Dynasty's open policies and prosperity made it possible for its people to enjoy a nice life. There were many different kinds of acrobatics, such as walking on ropeway, wrestling, cock fighting, playing swords and magic etc.
Few acrobatic figurines had been discovered in Tang tombs before this discovery. So they are of great value for a study on acrobatics in ancient time.
 
15. Painted pottery figurines
They are unearthed from a big Tang tomb whose owner is one of the princesses of Emperor Gao Zu.
 
Totally 150 painted pottery figurines have been unearthed, including female horse-riders, female nomads-dressed musicians on horse. They vividly show the custom of women riding, the popularity of nomads dresses and nomads music. These figurines, vividly portrayed, colorfully painted, realistically imaged, are the most wonderful sculptures of the Tang Dynasty.
That female musician with green peacock crown and the wrestlers having first discovered in Tang tombs are of great value. These figurines exquisitely made have shown the superb art level of the Tang Dynasty.
 
16. Tomb guardians and heavenly king statues
What we see here are statues of tomb guardians and heavenly kings. Tomb guardian, a kind of monstrous beast, is used as funeral objects standing at tomb gates to suppress evil spirits. As early as the Warring States time, painted wood guardians appeared in tombs. Tomb guardians looked fierce and ugly in Sui and Tang. Because burial figurines were no longer popular after Song Dynasty, tomb guardians then gradually disappeared.
 
Heavenly kings originated from Buddhist statues that stand beside Buddha and Bodhisattva to serve as safeguard and defender in Buddhist temples. Later it was discovered in Tang tombs together with tomb guardians and twelve zodiac animals. This Heavenly king looks like a warrior in reality, ful, l of power with strong muscles. He is standing on a Yakkha, who is yelling and panic-stricken, attending to resist but can’t make it. These statues represent Tang’s super sculpture art level.
 
Next we come to the phase of Song, Ming and Qing dynasties, many cultural relics roughly reflect the history of that time.
 
1. An incense burner with five stands from Song Dynasty
Here is a green glazed incense burner carved with flower-patterns on the surface and made in Yaozhou Kiln of North Song Dynasty (960-1127).
It was the first incense burner with five stands that had been discovered from Tang (618-907) and many more were unearthed later in Wudai Time (907-960). Song created a new kind of incense burner, plain on the outside surface not made as exquisitely as this one.
 
2. A blue and white porcelain bowl with Arabic patterns
Blue and white porcelains are our national porcelains. But this one is quite different, gaudy blue colored by imported Cobalt with black stain spots. It is considered as a product based on cultural intermingling between China and foreign countries.
 
The development of navigation technology gradually shortened the distance between the East and West. Especially after his navigations to the West Ocean in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Zhenghe brought a lot of advanced technology to China including Cobalt. First different designs and patterns are painted on dry porcelain bodies by this cobalt, secondly painted porcelains are fired in kilns under a temperature of 1200ºC. After firing, beautiful designs and patterns in dazzling colors appear. Because this Cobalt contains a high percentage of iron which results black spots after being fired in kilns under a high temperature. This kind of porcelains, different from traditional blue and white porcelains, is typically made in Yongle Ming Dynasty (1403-1422).
 
3. Chariots and horses statues of Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)
Here is a group of figurines from Yuan Dynasty, including riders, chariots, horses and packed camels, which reflected the tomb owner's trip occasion during his life time.
In Yuan dynasty, pottery statues were generally in grey. Human figurines were always in image of Mongols whose face features, clothes and postures presented Mongolian simplicity, fortitude and bravery. Its simple formative art reflected typical Mongolian images and presented ethnic people's style.
 
4. A group of painted pottery statues
These felt-hated and official hated pottery statues were unearthed from Qin King Zhu Gongzeng's tomb of Ming Dynasty in 2000. According to the epitaph, he became the Qin King in 1446. There were 13 Qin Kings in Xi'an during Ming Dynasty and all were buried to the north of city Xi'an. This tomb, rectangular shaped, facing to the south, was composed by tomb gate, tomb passage and tomb chamber. 111 cultural relics have been unearthed including pottery statues, porcelains and jade pieces, except of 35 coins. These cultural relics provide practical material for the study on tomb structures, sculpture art, dressing, ornaments, honor guard system, furniture and burial custom of Ming Dynasty.
 
5. Tri-colored glazed Statues from Kang Wentong's tomb
These four beautiful painted statues are guardians in tombs. The two tri-colored glazed statues of civil officials on the left were unearthed from Kang Wentong's tomb; another two warrior statues were unearthed in the east of Xi'an. Kang Wentong was not an officer, but born of a rich and powerful family. His tomb, not only big, but also was built by brick walls with front and back chambers. Such kind of burial system was very rarely found among Tang tombs in Xi'an.
 
These two tri-colored glazed statues were painted and outlined in gold, which enhances the art expression of tri-colored glazed pottery figurines.
 
Jade ware Exhibition Hall
Jade artifacts are very special in Chinese history and culture. In the late period of primitive society, the craftsmanship of jade articles has reached a very high level and formed its unique characteristics during more than 7000 years of development. In ancient times, jade was not only used for decoration, but also a symbol of wealth and power, as well as a sacrifice to heaven, earth and Go. Due to its unique qualities and pure natural features, the ancients made jade an , embodiment of noble human beings. As a saying goes that the noble man would not give away jade without any reasons. Therefore, jade was widely used in people’s lives and became a symbol of belief and beauty. Xi’an was a very important place for jade production. This is reflected in Han Shu (History of the Former Han Dynasty), a great work in the ancient times, which says that Lantian Mountain (a mountain in the city of Xi’an) was famous for producing a large amount of beautiful jade. Thousands of years of jade-making tradition made Xi'an rich in jade relics. The jade dagger-axe from the Shang Dynasty and Jade cups unearthed in the relics of Epang Palace are elaborate articles. The collection here includes pieces of jade that were used in different ways, such as ritual, sacrifice, wearing, display, decoration and burial. These articles reflect the different perception of jade during different times in Chinese history.
 
The jade cup unearthed from the remains of Qin's E'fang Palace, must be an imperial object because of its big volume and fantastic art feature. It bears different kinds of emblazonries on its four bedding surface. This bucked-shaped jade cup, grandly and gracefully made; transparent and glossy, in green and a little bit yellow; exquisitely rubbed and polished, is curiosa among jade articles.
 
Display Cabinet One
Here is one jade Bi carved with two Kui dragons. Bi is a kind of ring jade, of which the width is bigger than the radius of the hole. There were many different kinds of jade Bi in a big number before Qin and Han dynasties. It became declined after Qin and Han.
 
Jade Bi signifies the Sun and heaven, presents the idea of round heaven. It is used as a ritual object for worshiping heaven. As a symbol of power, it can be baldric, gift and a pledge in social communication as well.
Jade Cong, a column-shaped article, is square outside, round and hollow inside. Many pieces of jade Cong, unearthed from Neolithic age, were carved with mysterious patterns and made by a high manufacture level. It was rarely found after Zhou Dynasty.
 
According to ancient document account, Jade Cong had many functions. It was used to worship the earth, was considered as a ritual object to connect the heaven and the earth.
 
Display Cabinet Two
Here is a Jade Yuan with cereals pattern. Jade Yuan is another kind of ring jade, different from Bi. The width of a Jade Yuan is the same as the radius of the hole. During early Qin time, when a king was going to call in a duke, a Jade Yuan was used as a pledge. Cereals pattern means a lucky year and a good harvest.
 
Display Cabinet Three
Jade axes are on display here. Jade axe, strictly was not a practical weapon, actually a symbol of military power and used for sacrifice and ceremony. Jade weapons originated from middle Neolithic age, later became ritual object. Over a hundred jade weapons were unearthed from some big tombs, which show that jade weapons can be a symbol of wealth as well. Jade weapons gradually became ceremonial weapons used by emperors and aristocrats, and taken to grade different social status. Jade weapons mainly include: curved knife, axe, knife, spear and dagger. Those jade axes so far discovered are well grinded and polished without chopping remains.
 
There are jade Zhang here, popular in Shang and Zhou dynasties. Zhang is different in its top. One has a bevel edged top. Another may carry a square cylinder top. Surfaces of Jade Zhang are always carved with animal face patterns. According to document account, Jade Zhang was used to worship the god of south, mountains and rivers.
 
Display Cabinet Four
Here is Jade ornaments area.
In ancient times, most of the jade wares were used for ornamentation, which is the mainstream of Chinese jade art. Jade ornaments can be worn on hat, hair, ear, neck, and waist. Most of the wares had a hole to go through. Many of the jade ornaments were of pure quality with fine design and craftsmanship.
Jade Ji is a hair pin. Men tied hair on top of head, with a hair pin placed horizontally in hair and made hair neat in ancient time. Jade Ji first originated from Liangchu time, are still used today. It is generally thin, long cone-shaped and polished, with a bigger top and a smaller end. Some get patterns on top. A man got his puberty rite at the age of 18, and began to wear his hair pin. Jade Ji was always owned by an aristocrat.
 
Jade fish was an important ornament in ancient time, originated from Shang Dynasty. They were generally in single piece, in thin flat shape. A big number of jade fish unearthed from Tomb of Fuhao,Shang Dynasty7 were carved simply, but gave a general idea of a whole fish. Carving technique of Jade fish was improved in Zhou Dynasty, with bent fish increased, circular arc fish scales appeared on the surface. Jade fish were rarely seen in Han Dynasty. However it increased in number during Tang Dynasty again and became a system for men to wear jade fish.
 
In the Tang Dynasty, emperors wore jade fish amulets, officials wore gold fish amulets. Wearing jade fish ornaments became very popular in Song Dynasty which gave influence to later time as well.
 
Display Cabinet Five
Jade Xi was used to unknot, later became a kind of ornament after the spring and Autumn Periods of time. It can be solely used or be one of grouped ornaments, which strikes the others and sound. It was made elegant and beautiful and various in formative changes.
 
A Gold-mounted Jade Pendant is on display here. Gold-mounted jade articles have always been the most favorite for Chinese people.
 
For jade hook, it is to connect the two ends of a belt, similar to a modern belt hook. It can be an ornament as well. Jade hooks appeared at Neolithic age, became popular in Han dynasty. There were a big number of jade hooks in Ming and Qing dynasties which had no more practical function, were used as art work by the rich and officials.
 
Display Cabinet Six
Inlaid jade ornaments are on display here.
The inlaid jade Ornaments were only used on other wares and were usually not used separately in ancient times, many instruments were inlaid with jade to increase the value and for good luck in the remote antiquity, there were instruments inlaid with turquoise. In the Zhou Dynasty, it became very popular. There were a variety of jade-inlaid instruments that were listed in institutions, such as jade Jue(cup), jade Dou(container), jade Zhan(wine cup) jade tea table. In addition, there were also some military instruments inlaid with jade ornaments that were not listed in the institutions, like knife, low, pick, wand were also tessellated. There were also jade inlays on the double-edged sword, such as Shou, xin, Zhi and Bi.
 
Display Cabinet Seven
Human jade figurines are on display here. Human jade figurines appeared as early as Neolithic age and were made in each dynasty later. But their features and connotation were not the same in different dynasties.
 
During the early Qin time, Human jade figurines were used to sacrifice and scare off evils. They were engraved with linear carvings or with full relief, and featured by boat hat, garlic noses, and bucktooth. Those full relief jade figurines look primly, unhappy with a heavy heart.
 
Qin's human-designed jade figurines, discovered so far, are in flat shape, whose faces are engraved by linear carvings.   
 
After Han Dynasty, human jade figurines were used as ornaments. They were in a rich variety of realistic images. Wei and Jin Periods of time saw jade Buddha images increase. Tang's Apsaras and Song's boy figurines increased in number respectively.
 
During Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, human jade figurines developed rapidly into a wide variety, such as images of religions, images for good luck, wealth and longevity; images of saints and fairy including Confucius, Laozi, Guangong, the Eight Immortals; images of folk stories like Flower Goddess, the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid, Four Beauties.
 
Display Cabinet Eight
Burial jade was put in the coffin or beside the dead. Ancient people used this kind of jade wares on funerals due to the following two functions of jade, the symbol of power and prevention of the corpse from decaying.
 
Jade cicada, a kind of burial jade, placed in the mouth of the dead, originated from Western Zhou and prevalent in Qin and Han dynasties. Ancient people believed that a cicada can change to a pupa and come into earth; or change to a moth and fly to the sky. It has unusual functions to shell and becomes renascent and is regarded as an immortal insect. Jade cicada in the mouth of the dead is in the hope that the dead can be renascent like a cicada.
 
Jade pig is another kind of funeral jade. Pig, one of symbols of agriculture development, signified peace and wealth in ancient time. Jade pig is hold by the dead signifies wealth and provides food to the dead.
 
Display Cabinet in the center
Here on display are a jade dragon head and a jade eagle head. This jade dragon head is almost cuboid-shaped. Its mouth, teeth, eyes and lips are carved by thick intaglio; beard and eyebrows are carved by thin intaglio. It is made vigorously and vividly, full of sculptural appearance. In view of the holes left on the jade dragon, it may be an inlay jade piece on an imperial boat since it is discovered at Tang’s Fu Rong Garden. Vermilion was used to decorate its lip and eyes since remains of Vermilion were left there.
 
This jade hawk head has several holes on its top and back, probably for fixing it to a chariot or something else. It is made on a rectangular jade piece and its image is simply outlined. Its eyes, beak and feathers are engraved in intaglio. Linear carving is vigorous and presents a brief run technique.
 
Display Cabinet Ten
This white jade snuff bottle with gold inlay is gentle shiny and in meticulous texture. Tiger and mountains are carved vividly and vigorously in relief on the surface.
 
There is a boy figure in jade beside the jade snuff bottle. This jade boy is a little bit fat in round collar and tight sleeves, sitting there with his legs crossed, looking upward and to one side. His two hands are holding a lotus flower with wide lotus leaves on one of his shoulders. His small eyes, mouth and garlic noses are carved on his round face with a fistful hair on his head. He appears in a childish smile and seems born of a good luck. The carving takes reasonable use of colors, displays the distribution of these colors well. Its head is in white and the body in brown, which enhances its art effect.
 
Display Cabinet Eleven
Jade Instruments and Furnishings
Jade Instruments originated in the Shang Dynasty. Jade pillows, cups, bowls, Zun (wine vessel) etc became more popular during the Qin and Han dynasties. They were not only practical instruments, but also artistic works of high quality. Jade furnishings include figures of animals and plants in full relief, most of which didn't have a hole to go through. After the Tang Dynasty, the number of furnishing jade wares increased a lot. Most of the jade pieces of flower, bird, and animals were crafted vividly and lifelike.
 
          Exhibition Hall of Buddha Statues
Buddhism was founded in 6th century BC in India and was introduced to China in the first century AD in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Buddha image, one important part of Buddhist culture, to which people pray and offer sacrifices, has abundant content and various forms. With the development of Buddhist temples and grottoes, various Buddhist images appeared all over China; not only in a big number, but also with certain forms. As the starting point of ancient Silk Road, Chang’an has become the Buddhist culture center in Northern China after Buddhism was introduced to China, where many beautiful Buddhist statues were left from different periods of time.
 
Statues made in the 16 Kingdoms and the Northern dynasties
According to literature, temples appeared in Chang'an during the Western Jin Dynasty (265-316), and boomed in the 16 Kingdoms and the Northern dynasties. Chang’an soon became the center of Buddhist culture in the north of China at that time. In this period, most of the statues were single Buddha statues of statues on stele, which were suitable for offerings alone and most were placed in temples or family halls for worshipping Buddha. Because the metal technique was quite developed at that time, bronze statues prevailed, especially little gilded statues. The configuration of Buddha statues in this period was characterized by strong foreign style in harmony with traditional Chinese aesthetic consciousness. In the early period, the statues were elegant and dignified, the soft in harmony with the hard; in the middle period, the statues were of elegance and beauty with straight and stiff bridge of nose and slender body under the influence of the style of Buddha statues with well-chiseled feature and slim body in south China; In the later period, statues were well-rounded in face. Limbs and body were clear. Bodies were wrapped closely by clothes with over elaborate baldrics. All these embodied the trend to transit to the style of the Sui and Tang dynasties.
 
1.Buddha statue in 526AD of North Wei
This Buddha statue is not well-proportioned, his body is relatively small, his head is bigger and earlobes drop to shoulders. His hands are in the gestures of mudra of intrepidity and supreme generosity.
 
Buddha images have several fix hand postures to express certain meanings. The most usual hand postures are: mudra of meditation, mudra of teaching, mudra of intrepidity, mudra of supreme generosity.
Pointing down left fingertips is the madra of supreme generosity, means the Buddha can meet the needs of all people. His right hand is facing forward with five fingers unfold is a hand gesture of mudra of intrepidity, can relief all flesh’s suffering.
 
This statue catches Buddha’s features and spirit, does not care much about details, simple and solemn in style, and possesses characteristics of Han Dynasty’s sculptures and Gandhara art.
 
2. Buddha images in North Wei Dynasty
Emperor XiaoWen of Xianbei minority founded North Wei in 386 and established its capital in Datong. He believed in Buddhism, placed emphasis on its development and its doctrine study. He built Yungang Grottoes and promoted Han culture spread among his minority at the same time. After the move of its capital to Luoyang, he continued to build grottoes and set up quite a few pagodas and temples where many highly monks gathered. The main Buddhist statues made this time were Buddha, Maitreya, Bodhisattva and some rectangular Buddhist images.
 
3. A destroyed Bodhisattva statue
Here is a destroyed Bodhisattva statue of Sui Dynasty (581-618). Buddhist images of this time had a transition feature, transition from North Qi to Tang Dynasty. Buddhist statues made in early Sui possessed rigid faces, similar to those built in North Qi and Zhou; Buddhist statues in late Sui possessed round faces, plump figures and more natural facial expressions. Bodhisattva figures began to show their gentle and graceful postures.
This Bodhisattva statue, made of blue stone, looks regal, full of vitality with an appealing design. Although it is not a complete statue now, still possesses a super art charm, one of the best statues of Sui Dynasty.
 
4. A stele with statues of Maitreya and Bodhisattva donated by two nuns
The third statue on the left carries inscription words which tell it was engraved in 520. An arch shrine is carved on the front side of the stone tablet, in which stand a Maitreya and two Bodhisattvas. Maitreya is plump, ears drop to shoulders. He is sitting on a high pedestal with a smile on his elliptical face. Two Bodhisattvas, wearing flower-crowns and long dresses are sitting on lotus pedestal.
 
Tablet-shaped Buddhist statue, Offered by some people, was a popular and special kind of Buddhist art in North Dynasty. It decreased in Sui and was no more existed in the Tang Dynasty. This tablet-shaped Buddhist statue, in terms of subject matter and style, is similar to grotto art.
 
5. Five Buddhist Statues of West Wei
Five Buddhist Statues, a Buddha, two Bodhisattvas and two disciples are carved on a vertical stone tablet.
 
These statues are engraved exquisitely with smooth carving lines. Their faces are comely and their shoulders are rawboned. According to the formative features and their dresses, the Buddhist Statues may be the cultural relics from West Wei Time.
 
The comely Buddha statue in the middle is wide belted and in shoulder-connected loose cassock.
 
6. Buddhist Statues from North Zhou
Here are a group of Buddhist statues from North Zhou, including some Budhisattvas. Bodhisattva assists Buddha in relief the flesh from abyss of misery to the Paradise. Bodhisattva is only inferior to Buddha, but superior to Arhat. Bodhisattvas always live in common people’s world, preach Buddhist doctrine and guide people to get rid of abyss of misery. Bodhisattvas are much closer to common people than the Buddha himself and are more easily accepted by the commons. Sometimes people adore Bodhisattvas more than Buddha.
 
7. Gilded Buddhist statues donated by Dongqing
These 118 inscription words, on one side of the base, tell that the Buddhist statues were cast by Dongqing in 584 of Sui Dynasty. The statue is 41cm high and 24cm wide. The three statues in the middle are the Three Holy Triads of the West:  Amitabha  sits on lotus pedestal in the middle with bare foot Manjusri Buddha on the left and the Goddess of Mercy on the right, both standing on lotus pedestals, before them are two warriors. The front center of the pedestal is placed with an incense burner, under which a nude dwarf is holding the burner. Two crouching tigers are standing in the front. The right and back side of the pedestal are inscribed with eulogy. This gilded statue is well preserved and fine in craftsmanship which is one of the three national treasures in this museum.
These statues are composed of 23 parts. Buddha, Bodhisattvas, guards and lotus pedestals, individually cast and connected by tenon-and-mortise works, can be dismantled. These statues, gilded all over and protected quite well, are a treasure of gilded statues.
 
Buddha Statues made in Tang Dynasty
In the Sui and Tang dynasties, temple construction was on an unprecedented occasion. After Emperor Sui Wendi ascended the throne, he advocated Buddhism vigorously. He ordered the country to promulgate Buddhist scriptures, make Buddha statues, and absorb monks and nuns. In the course of construction of the Daxing City, he planned to build up 120 temples. In the Tang dynasty, there came forth 8 sects of Buddhism, Each sect had their patriarchal courts in ancient Chang'an city, According to the recordation of Textual Research on Chang’an and Luoyang of the Tang Dynasty, there were 122 temples and 21 nunneries verifiable in Chang'an of the Tang Dynasty. As for Buddha statues in this period, some in earlier stage were still characterized by style of Northern Dynasties. Later on, the statues were completely in Chinese style with reasonable proportion of head, body and confidence. In the late stage, the style appeared reserved and rigid, but accurate modeling, comfortable proportion and skilled handcraft. So the statues were in tendency of realism and common customs.
 
8. Heavenly King Statue
This white marble Heavenly King statue is from Tang Dynasty. Heavenly King originated from Guardian Deity of Buddhism. Buddhism has been converted to Chinese one after it was introduced to China in Eastern Han Dynasty. Guardian Deity gradually lost his original appearance and status, changed to a Chinese Warrior image, whose symbolic meaning has exceeded the Buddhism, or has become a symbol of justice and vigor in our world.  
 
Heavenly King is considered to suppress evil spirits and protect Buddhism doctrine. It is supposed to pretend the owner of the tomb from harassment as well. So Heavenly King was placed in tombs as Guardian Deity.
 
This white marble Heavenly King statue is sculptured by adept skill. His facial expression, posture, clothes and trappings are harmonious to each other, which embody the perfect unification of his body and spirit. The remains of painting at his head and armor faded. Another similar Heavenly King is facing to him on the other side.
 
9. Iron Buddha Sculpture
This Tang Iron Buddha Statue, as a whole, is beautifully made with a mature skill and done according to a real person. It not only copies man’s figure well, but also display vividly the dynamic beauty of Buddha. It is the best preserved and heaviest iron Buddha statue made in the Tang Dynasty.
 
10. Gilded Buddha statue
There are many Buddha statues in this long rectangular display cabinet. The gilded sitting Buddha statue on the right, built in 16 countries time (304-439), is the oldest Buddha statue discovered so far in Xi'an.
 
This sitting Buddha in round-collared and shoulders-connected coat takes a crossed- leg sitting position, whose two hands are in mudra of meditation. The ripples of clothes present a “U” shape.
 
Its pedestal is square at front and round behind; two holes behind the Buddha’s head are for fixing the top light. There are inscription words behind the pedestal.
 
          Features of Buddha statues from Song, Ming and Qing Dynasty
Since the Song Dynasty, social consciousness has tended to realism with the development of the Confucian sect and flourishing of commerce. Traditional statue making standard was belittled and the number of Buddha statues turned smaller and smaller. While most Buddha statues made in the Song and Yuan dynasty were elaborately carved and round. They were in broad and succinct outline of dressing, with reasonable proportion of body conformation. The statues kept the plain, succinct and dignified style of the Tang Dynasty. In the Ming dynasty, statues carried on the art style of the Song and Yuan dynasties, with round knife skill but with rough handcraft and dull layout and lack of vigor. Statues in the Qing Dynasty were stately symmetry in figure, with constantly prettified skill, realistic technology, and magnificent decoration. They showed naturalism but slightly rigid, and lacked of inner charm and vigor.
 
11. Buddhist arhats from Song Dynasty
Arhat is a disciple of Buddha. Buddhism says, every follower of Buddhism may have four different results, or different levels  which they get through spiritual practice. Arhat is the most highly level, only inferior to Buddha and Bodhisattvas.
 
Buddhism believes that an Arhat has enlightened, has got rid of endless circles of birth and death. There are different sayings about the number of Arhats: ten disciples of Buddha, four Arhat, sixteen Arhats and eighteen Arhats. Eighteen Arhats have great influence in our society, whose statues and paintings are quite popular in our life. There are many halls to hold five hundred Arhats in temples. It is said that those five hundred Arhats met and compiled Buddhist doctrines after Buddha’s Nirvana, which is the origin of five hundred Arhats.
 
Buddhist statues features of Song Dynasty are: Because of Zen Buddhism’s influence, sanctity and ideality of Buddha sculpture weakened, but secularize elements increased. There were more secularized Arhats statues appeared to replace Bodhisattvas and Warriors which had been popular in Tang Dynasty. These secularized Arhats statues, quite welcomed by the folks have improved the spread of Buddhism.
 
                   The Exhibition of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy
Chinese Painting and Calligraphy have a long history with profound traditions and unique national style. Calligraphy and painting have the same origin, which are both the art of brush and ink. The ancients made painting and calligraphy a special media to express their own thought and their individual style of arts. Therefore, Chinese painting and calligraphy have a unique position in the arts of ancient times. Chinese painting and calligraphy cover a wide range of subjects with abundant connotations and diversified styles in different periods. Chinese painting and calligraphy not only have high artistic value, but also provide a good insight into ancient societies. Xi'an is one of the birth places of Chinese painting and calligraphy. Banpo and Jiangzhai Sites are famous for their collected colored pottery paintings. Xi'an was also the center of national painting and calligraphy arts during the Zhou, Qin Han and Tang dynasties. We have collected almost ten thousand items of painting and calligraphy works from different dynasties, some of them are the work of very famous artists. The paintings and calligraphy works exhibited here today are mainly from the Ming Qing dynasties, together with some excellent contemporary and modern art works. These exhibitions not only show the local features of the painting and calligraphy works during different periods in Xi'an area, but also reflect the long tradition and profundity of Chinese paintings and calligraphy as a whole.
 
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a kind of traditional art of Chinese characters to reflect the writer's perception, interest and taste. In the early New Stone Age, Yangshao culture period, the earliest portray signals appeared, which were the early form of calligraphy. Since then, it has formed different styles of Chinese characters ranging from Jin Wen (Inscriptions on Bronze) in the Shang and Zhou dynasties, Small seal script in the Qin Dynasty, and Han Slave Script, Wei Tablet inscription, Tang regular script, Song Running Style, Small Regular script in the Ming Dynasty. These different styles of calligraphy have formed a unique art category in China.
 
Figure Portrait
Figure portrait is a big part of Chinese painting. It appeared earlier than landscape painting, and flower-bird painting. Due to its different focus, the portrait can be classified into figure portrait, Buddhist wall-painting, Chinese painting of beautiful women in Chinese history, Chinese historical story painting, and genre painting. The traditional Chinese painting always focuses on the vivid expression of people’s special personal character in the different environment, atmosphere, body gesture and their movements.
 
Flowers, Birds and Animals paintings
Take flowers, birds and animals as the main theme. The type of painting originally started from the figure portrait in Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern dynasties, and well developed individually in the Sui and Tang dynasties, and reached its peak in the Song and Yuan dynasties, even in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The type of paintings, with the theme of birds, animals and plants, express the painters’ different stories, feelings wishes or their own inner thoughts or ideas.
 
Landscape Painting
Landscape painting is subject to natural scenery, like mountains and rivers. It originated from the figure portrait in Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern dynasties and became an independent painting school in the Sui and Tang dynasties. It was well developed and became more sophisticated in the five dynasties and Northern Song Period. Traditionally, this landscaped painting can be classified into heavy color painting, heavy color painting with gold outline, light warm color painting, water ink painting, painting without an outline and light color painting.
           
 Exhibition of the  Seals
Seals are a unique part of Chinese history and culture. In ancient times, they were used for identification and as a token of authority. They became popular during the Warring /states Period. The ancient seats were a combination of calligraphy, sculpture and plastic arts. They could be made of various materials with abundant designs. Seals created a great environment for the ancient arts. The design and the style of characters in the seals changed with different times, and the art of seal-making had been formed in a special school. Tens of hundreds of the clay seals in the Qin and Jin dynasties were unearthed at Han Chang’an ruins in Xi’an. 279 official seals were unearthed under the Drum Tower Square alone. These have created great interest in the world. The different types of seals exhibited here represent many different functions, such as the common official seals, personal seal, as well as some rare religious seals and signature seals. These have proven to be very important for studying the seal system and seal-making craftsmanship in ancient times. (Writen by Angela Zhang Yue)
 
, c, , ene to, show the journey along the Silk Road is d, iff, , icult. They made camel appropriately bigger by means of exaggeration and romance. The fact that we can, 't see the girl's face leads to a kind of reverie, full of romance tone.
 
9. A camel with a pack on his back
This pottery camel, discovered in Chang'an County of Xi'an, opens his eyes wide and raises his head high. A saddle shelf between the two humps is packed of silk. Pots, kettles and some other objects are hung on both sides of the pack. This packed camel is the most typical one among those tri-color glazed camel statues, which proves that camel is the main means of transportation along the Silk Road, and reflects the economy exchanges between the East and the West.
 
10. A stone bed covered by stone screens from North Wei (557-581)
This stone bed, a kind of coffin, is composed by the base, ten pieces of stone screens and five stone legs. A complete one of linear paintings is carved on each of the screens. These linear carving paintings portray aristocrats' rich life. The male images on the fourth and fifth screens wear clothes of northern nomads, which show the cultural exchanges between China and other countries.
 
This stone bed is unearthed from Kanye's tomb in the north of Xi’an. According to its epitaph, Kanye, from Kang country, one of nomadic nation, became an official during North Wei (386-534). This is the only one of Suli tombs that took use of linear carving paintings to show their life. These linear carving paintings have used the composition mode of landscape paintings which originally sprouted from Wei and Jin Periods of time. They provide great values for the study on the cultural exchanges, Chinese paintings and art.
 
11. Shijun’s tomb of North Zhou (557-581)
This stone coffin is unearthed in Shijun’s tomb from North Zhou. According to its epitaph, this is a joint tomb of a couple; the man was named Shi, who was a county governor, buried in 580. This stone coffin is a house-structure with a nine-ridged roof on. Beautiful linear carving paintings on the subject of Suli's religions have been appealing to the academic circles. These carvings taking use of relief, color painting and gilding are rich in content. Suli’ written words are carved on the surface. Suli, an ethnic group, lived in middle Asia, famous for doing business along the ancient Silk Road in the Tang Dynasty. Their commerce promoted the economic and cultural exchanges, built a bridge between farming and nomadic civilization, between the east and the west.
 
Nowadays, Suli language is no more used. These inscription words have provided material for the study on Suli written language and culture, and make us realize more about their life in China in the past.
 
12. Lidan's Tomb of North Zhou
This stone coffin is exquisitely made and unearthed from Lidan’s tomb, an Indian Brahminwho came to China during North Wei (386-534).
 
What is Brahmin? There was strict hierarchy in ancient India, which divided Indians to four different castes: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. Brahmin is the super one, in charge of thearchy. Every caste is hereditary, no intermarriage between two different castes. Nowadays India still remains castes in some ways.
 
This is a joint-tomb of a couple. The lady got no more than a gold coin of East Rome in her mouth. The linear carving paintings including Chinese legendary figures Fuxi and Nvwa and also tutelary which may be related to the Buddhism, reflect the Buddhism’s spread in China.
 
Lidan's tomb is another important discovery along the ancient Silk Road. It is the only tomb that has a record of Indian Brahmin so far discovered in China. Its discovery has great significance on the study of China- India cultural exchanges.
 
13. Naked pottery figurines of the Han Dynasty
Six naked figurines on display here are obvious in physiological features without arms. The holes on shoulders suggest actually they were in clothes which had rotten after centuries past.
 
These physiologically featured figurines prove the fact they intentionally modeled real people and served the dead emperor in the next life. They are made smaller, but the formative art is as nice as that of the Qin. Face outline, five sense organs and facial expressions are exactly and vividly portrayed in each head.
 
14. Acrobatic figurines of the Tang Dynasty
Seven pottery figurines playing a pyramid game are acrobatic figurines of the Tang. The Tang Dynasty's open policies and prosperity made it possible for its people to enjoy a nice life. There were many different kinds of acrobatics, such as walking on ropeway, wrestling, cock fighting, playing swords and magic etc.
Few acrobatic figurines had been discovered in Tang tombs before this discovery. So they are of great value for a study on acrobatics in ancient time.
 
15. Painted pottery figurines
They are unearthed from a big Tang tomb whose owner is one of the princesses of Emperor Gao Zu.
 
Totally 150 painted pottery figurines have been unearthed, including female horse-riders, female nomads-dressed musicians on horse. They vividly show the custom of women riding, the popularity of nomads dresses and nomads music. These figurines, vividly portrayed, colorfully painted, realistically imaged, are the most wonderful sculptures of the Tang Dynasty.
That female musician with green peacock crown and the wrestlers having first discovered in Tang tombs are of great value. These figurines exquisitely made have shown the superb art level of the Tang Dynasty.
 
16. Tomb guardians and heavenly king statues
What we see here are statues of tomb guardians and heavenly kings. Tomb guardian, a kind of monstrous beast, is used as funeral objects standing at tomb gates to suppress evil spirits. As early as the Warring States time, painted wood guardians appeared in tombs. Tomb guardians looked fierce and ugly in Sui and Tang. Because burial figurines were no longer popular after Song Dynasty, tomb guardians then gradually disappeared.
 
Heavenly kings originated from Buddhist statues that stand beside Buddha and Bodhisattva to serve as safeguard and defender in Buddhist temples. Later it was discovered in Tang tombs together with tomb guardians and twelve zodiac animals. This Heavenly king looks like a warrior in reality, ful, l of power with strong muscles. He is standing on a Yakkha, who is yelling and panic-stricken, attending to resist but can’t make it. These statues represent Tang’s super sculpture art level.
 
Next we come to the phase of Song, Ming and Qing dynasties, many cultural relics roughly reflect the history of that time.
 
1. An incense burner with five stands from Song Dynasty
Here is a green glazed incense burner carved with flower-patterns on the surface and made in Yaozhou Kiln of North Song Dynasty (960-1127).
It was the first incense burner with five stands that had been discovered from Tang (618-907) and many more were unearthed later in Wudai Time (907-960). Song created a new kind of incense burner, plain on the outside surface not made as exquisitely as this one.
 
2. A blue and white porcelain bowl with Arabic patterns
Blue and white porcelains are our national porcelains. But this one is quite different, gaudy blue colored by imported Cobalt with black stain spots. It is considered as a product based on cultural intermingling between China and foreign countries.
 
The development of navigation technology gradually shortened the distance between the East and West. Especially after his navigations to the West Ocean in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Zhenghe brought a lot of advanced technology to China including Cobalt. First different designs and patterns are painted on dry porcelain bodies by this cobalt, secondly painted porcelains are fired in kilns under a temperature of 1200ºC. After firing, beautiful designs and patterns in dazzling colors appear. Because this Cobalt contains a high percentage of iron which results black spots after being fired in kilns under a high temperature. This kind of porcelains, different from traditional blue and white porcelains, is typically made in Yongle Ming Dynasty (1403-1422).
 
3. Chariots and horses statues of Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)
Here is a group of figurines from Yuan Dynasty, including riders, chariots, horses and packed camels, which reflected the tomb owner's trip occasion during his life time.
In Yuan dynasty, pottery statues were generally in grey. Human figurines were always in image of Mongols whose face features, clothes and postures presented Mongolian simplicity, fortitude and bravery. Its simple formative art reflected typical Mongolian images and presented ethnic people's style.
 
4. A group of painted pottery statues
These felt-hated and official hated pottery statues were unearthed from Qin King Zhu Gongzeng's tomb of Ming Dynasty in 2000. According to the epitaph, he became the Qin King in 1446. There were 13 Qin Kings in Xi'an during Ming Dynasty and all were buried to the north of city Xi'an. This tomb, rectangular shaped, facing to the south, was composed by tomb gate, tomb passage and tomb chamber. 111 cultural relics have been unearthed including pottery statues, porcelains and jade pieces, except of 35 coins. These cultural relics provide practical material for the study on tomb structures, sculpture art, dressing, ornaments, honor guard system, furniture and burial custom of Ming Dynasty.
 
5. Tri-colored glazed Statues from Kang Wentong's tomb
These four beautiful painted statues are guardians in tombs. The two tri-colored glazed statues of civil officials on the left were unearthed from Kang Wentong's tomb; another two warrior statues were unearthed in the east of Xi'an. Kang Wentong was not an officer, but born of a rich and powerful family. His tomb, not only big, but also was built by brick walls with front and back chambers. Such kind of burial system was very rarely found among Tang tombs in Xi'an.
 
These two tri-colored glazed statues were painted and outlined in gold, which enhances the art expression of tri-colored glazed pottery figurines.
 
Jade ware Exhibition Hall
Jade artifacts are very special in Chinese history and culture. In the late period of primitive society, the craftsmanship of jade articles has reached a very high level and formed its unique characteristics during more than 7000 years of development. In ancient times, jade was not only used for decoration, but also a symbol of wealth and power, as well as a sacrifice to heaven, earth and Go. Due to its unique qualities and pure natural features, the ancients made jade an , embodiment of noble human beings. As a saying goes that the noble man would not give away jade without any reasons. Therefore, jade was widely used in people’s lives and became a symbol of belief and beauty. Xi’an was a very important place for jade production. This is reflected in Han Shu (History of the Former Han Dynasty), a great work in the ancient times, which says that Lantian Mountain (a mountain in the city of Xi’an) was famous for producing a large amount of beautiful jade. Thousands of years of jade-making tradition made Xi'an rich in jade relics. The jade dagger-axe from the Shang Dynasty and Jade cups unearthed in the relics of Epang Palace are elaborate articles. The collection here includes pieces of jade that were used in different ways, such as ritual, sacrifice, wearing, display, decoration and burial. These articles reflect the different perception of jade during different times in Chinese history.
 
The jade cup unearthed from the remains of Qin's E'fang Palace, must be an imperial object because of its big volume and fantastic art feature. It bears different kinds of emblazonries on its four bedding surface. This bucked-shaped jade cup, grandly and gracefully made; transparent and glossy, in green and a little bit yellow; exquisitely rubbed and polished, is curiosa among jade articles.
 
Display Cabinet One
Here is one jade Bi carved with two Kui dragons. Bi is a kind of ring jade, of which the width is bigger than the radius of the hole. There were many different kinds of jade Bi in a big number before Qin and Han dynasties. It became declined after Qin and Han.
 
Jade Bi signifies the Sun and heaven, presents the idea of round heaven. It is used as a ritual object for worshiping heaven. As a symbol of power, it can be baldric, gift and a pledge in social communication as well.
Jade Cong, a column-shaped article, is square outside, round and hollow inside. Many pieces of jade Cong, unearthed from Neolithic age, were carved with mysterious patterns and made by a high manufacture level. It was rarely found after Zhou Dynasty.
 
According to ancient document account, Jade Cong had many functions. It was used to worship the earth, was considered as a ritual object to connect the heaven and the earth.
 
Display Cabinet Two
Here is a Jade Yuan with cereals pattern. Jade Yuan is another kind of ring jade, different from Bi. The width of a Jade Yuan is the same as the radius of the hole. During early Qin time, when a king was going to call in a duke, a Jade Yuan was used as a pledge. Cereals pattern means a lucky year and a good harvest.
 
Display Cabinet Three
Jade axes are on display here. Jade axe, strictly was not a practical weapon, actually a symbol of military power and used for sacrifice and ceremony. Jade weapons originated from middle Neolithic age, later became ritual object. Over a hundred jade weapons were unearthed from some big tombs, which show that jade weapons can be a symbol of wealth as well. Jade weapons gradually became ceremonial weapons used by emperors and aristocrats, and taken to grade different social status. Jade weapons mainly include: curved knife, axe, knife, spear and dagger. Those jade axes so far discovered are well grinded and polished without chopping remains.
 
There are jade Zhang here, popular in Shang and Zhou dynasties. Zhang is different in its top. One has a bevel edged top. Another may carry a square cylinder top. Surfaces of Jade Zhang are always carved with animal face patterns. According to document account, Jade Zhang was used to worship the god of south, mountains and rivers.
 
Display Cabinet Four
Here is Jade ornaments area.
In ancient times, most of the jade wares were used for ornamentation, which is the mainstream of Chinese jade art. Jade ornaments can be worn on hat, hair, ear, neck, and waist. Most of the wares had a hole to go through. Many of the jade ornaments were of pure quality with fine design and craftsmanship.
Jade Ji is a hair pin. Men tied hair on top of head, with a hair pin placed horizontally in hair and made hair neat in ancient time. Jade Ji first originated from Liangchu time, are still used today. It is generally thin, long cone-shaped and polished, with a bigger top and a smaller end. Some get patterns on top. A man got his puberty rite at the age of 18, and began to wear his hair pin. Jade Ji was always owned by an aristocrat.
 
Jade fish was an important ornament in ancient time, originated from Shang Dynasty. They were generally in single piece, in thin flat shape. A big number of jade fish unearthed from Tomb of Fuhao,Shang Dynasty7 were carved simply, but gave a general idea of a whole fish. Carving technique of Jade fish was improved in Zhou Dynasty, with bent fish increased, circular arc fish scales appeared on the surface. Jade fish were rarely seen in Han Dynasty. However it increased in number during Tang Dynasty again and became a system for men to wear jade fish.
 
In the Tang Dynasty, emperors wore jade fish amulets, officials wore gold fish amulets. Wearing jade fish ornaments became very popular in Song Dynasty which gave influence to later time as well.
 
Display Cabinet Five
Jade Xi was used to unknot, later became a kind of ornament after the spring and Autumn Periods of time. It can be solely used or be one of grouped ornaments, which strikes the others and sound. It was made elegant and beautiful and various in formative changes.
 
A Gold-mounted Jade Pendant is on display here. Gold-mounted jade articles have always been the most favorite for Chinese people.
 
For jade hook, it is to connect the two ends of a belt, similar to a modern belt hook. It can be an ornament as well. Jade hooks appeared at Neolithic age, became popular in Han dynasty. There were a big number of jade hooks in Ming and Qing dynasties which had no more practical function, were used as art work by the rich and officials.
 
Display Cabinet Six
Inlaid jade ornaments are on display here.
The inlaid jade Ornaments were only used on other wares and were usually not used separately in ancient times, many instruments were inlaid with jade to increase the value and for good luck in the remote antiquity, there were instruments inlaid with turquoise. In the Zhou Dynasty, it became very popular. There were a variety of jade-inlaid instruments that were listed in institutions, such as jade Jue(cup), jade Dou(container), jade Zhan(wine cup) jade tea table. In addition, there were also some military instruments inlaid with jade ornaments that were not listed in the institutions, like knife, low, pick, wand were also tessellated. There were also jade inlays on the double-edged sword, such as Shou, xin, Zhi and Bi.
 
Display Cabinet Seven
Human jade figurines are on display here. Human jade figurines appeared as early as Neolithic age and were made in each dynasty later. But their features and connotation were not the same in different dynasties.
 
During the early Qin time, Human jade figurines were used to sacrifice and scare off evils. They were engraved with linear carvings or with full relief, and featured by boat hat, garlic noses, and bucktooth. Those full relief jade figurines look primly, unhappy with a heavy heart.
 
Qin's human-designed jade figurines, discovered so far, are in flat shape, whose faces are engraved by linear carvings.   
 
After Han Dynasty, human jade figurines were used as ornaments. They were in a rich variety of realistic images. Wei and Jin Periods of time saw jade Buddha images increase. Tang's Apsaras and Song's boy figurines increased in number respectively.
 
During Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, human jade figurines developed rapidly into a wide variety, such as images of religions, images for good luck, wealth and longevity; images of saints and fairy including Confucius, Laozi, Guangong, the Eight Immortals; images of folk stories like Flower Goddess, the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid, Four Beauties.
 
Display Cabinet Eight
Burial jade was put in the coffin or beside the dead. Ancient people used this kind of jade wares on funerals due to the following two functions of jade, the symbol of power and prevention of the corpse from decaying.
 
Jade cicada, a kind of burial jade, placed in the mouth of the dead, originated from Western Zhou and prevalent in Qin and Han dynasties. Ancient people believed that a cicada can change to a pupa and come into earth; or change to a moth and fly to the sky. It has unusual functions to shell and becomes renascent and is regarded as an immortal insect. Jade cicada in the mouth of the dead is in the hope that the dead can be renascent like a cicada.
 
Jade pig is another kind of funeral jade. Pig, one of symbols of agriculture development, signified peace and wealth in ancient time. Jade pig is hold by the dead signifies wealth and provides food to the dead.
 
Display Cabinet in the center
Here on display are a jade dragon head and a jade eagle head. This jade dragon head is almost cuboid-shaped. Its mouth, teeth, eyes and lips are carved by thick intaglio; beard and eyebrows are carved by thin intaglio. It is made vigorously and vividly, full of sculptural appearance. In view of the holes left on the jade dragon, it may be an inlay jade piece on an imperial boat since it is discovered at Tang’s Fu Rong Garden. Vermilion was used to decorate its lip and eyes since remains of Vermilion were left there.
 
This jade hawk head has several holes on its top and back, probably for fixing it to a chariot or something else. It is made on a rectangular jade piece and its image is simply outlined. Its eyes, beak and feathers are engraved in intaglio. Linear carving is vigorous and presents a brief run technique.
 
Display Cabinet Ten
This white jade snuff bottle with gold inlay is gentle shiny and in meticulous texture. Tiger and mountains are carved vividly and vigorously in relief on the surface.
 
There is a boy figure in jade beside the jade snuff bottle. This jade boy is a little bit fat in round collar and tight sleeves, sitting there with his legs crossed, looking upward and to one side. His two hands are holding a lotus flower with wide lotus leaves on one of his shoulders. His small eyes, mouth and garlic noses are carved on his round face with a fistful hair on his head. He appears in a childish smile and seems born of a good luck. The carving takes reasonable use of colors, displays the distribution of these colors well. Its head is in white and the body in brown, which enhances its art effect.
 
Display Cabinet Eleven
Jade Instruments and Furnishings
Jade Instruments originated in the Shang Dynasty. Jade pillows, cups, bowls, Zun (wine vessel) etc became more popular during the Qin and Han dynasties. They were not only practical instruments, but also artistic works of high quality. Jade furnishings include figures of animals and plants in full relief, most of which didn't have a hole to go through. After the Tang Dynasty, the number of furnishing jade wares increased a lot. Most of the jade pieces of flower, bird, and animals were crafted vividly and lifelike.
 
          Exhibition Hall of Buddha Statues
Buddhism was founded in 6th century BC in India and was introduced to China in the first century AD in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Buddha image, one important part of Buddhist culture, to which people pray and offer sacrifices, has abundant content and various forms. With the development of Buddhist temples and grottoes, various Buddhist images appeared all over China; not only in a big number, but also with certain forms. As the starting point of ancient Silk Road, Chang’an has become the Buddhist culture center in Northern China after Buddhism was introduced to China, where many beautiful Buddhist statues were left from different periods of time.
 
Statues made in the 16 Kingdoms and the Northern dynasties
According to literature, temples appeared in Chang'an during the Western Jin Dynasty (265-316), and boomed in the 16 Kingdoms and the Northern dynasties. Chang’an soon became the center of Buddhist culture in the north of China at that time. In this period, most of the statues were single Buddha statues of statues on stele, which were suitable for offerings alone and most were placed in temples or family halls for worshipping Buddha. Because the metal technique was quite developed at that time, bronze statues prevailed, especially little gilded statues. The configuration of Buddha statues in this period was characterized by strong foreign style in harmony with traditional Chinese aesthetic consciousness. In the early period, the statues were elegant and dignified, the soft in harmony with the hard; in the middle period, the statues were of elegance and beauty with straight and stiff bridge of nose and slender body under the influence of the style of Buddha statues with well-chiseled feature and slim body in south China; In the later period, statues were well-rounded in face. Limbs and body were clear. Bodies were wrapped closely by clothes with over elaborate baldrics. All these embodied the trend to transit to the style of the Sui and Tang dynasties.
 
1.Buddha statue in 526AD of North Wei
This Buddha statue is not well-proportioned, his body is relatively small, his head is bigger and earlobes drop to shoulders. His hands are in the gestures of mudra of intrepidity and supreme generosity.
 
Buddha images have several fix hand postures to express certain meanings. The most usual hand postures are: mudra of meditation, mudra of teaching, mudra of intrepidity, mudra of supreme generosity.
Pointing down left fingertips is the madra of supreme generosity, means the Buddha can meet the needs of all people. His right hand is facing forward with five fingers unfold is a hand gesture of mudra of intrepidity, can relief all flesh’s suffering.
 
This statue catches Buddha’s features and spirit, does not care much about details, simple and solemn in style, and possesses characteristics of Han Dynasty’s sculptures and Gandhara art.
 
2. Buddha images in North Wei Dynasty
Emperor XiaoWen of Xianbei minority founded North Wei in 386 and established its capital in Datong. He believed in Buddhism, placed emphasis on its development and its doctrine study. He built Yungang Grottoes and promoted Han culture spread among his minority at the same time. After the move of its capital to Luoyang, he continued to build grottoes and set up quite a few pagodas and temples where many highly monks gathered. The main Buddhist statues made this time were Buddha, Maitreya, Bodhisattva and some rectangular Buddhist images.
 
3. A destroyed Bodhisattva statue
Here is a destroyed Bodhisattva statue of Sui Dynasty (581-618). Buddhist images of this time had a transition feature, transition from North Qi to Tang Dynasty. Buddhist statues made in early Sui possessed rigid faces, similar to those built in North Qi and Zhou; Buddhist statues in late Sui possessed round faces, plump figures and more natural facial expressions. Bodhisattva figures began to show their gentle and graceful postures.
This Bodhisattva statue, made of blue stone, looks regal, full of vitality with an appealing design. Although it is not a complete statue now, still possesses a super art charm, one of the best statues of Sui Dynasty.
 
4. A stele with statues of Maitreya and Bodhisattva donated by two nuns
The third statue on the left carries inscription words which tell it was engraved in 520. An arch shrine is carved on the front side of the stone tablet, in which stand a Maitreya and two Bodhisattvas. Maitreya is plump, ears drop to shoulders. He is sitting on a high pedestal with a smile on his elliptical face. Two Bodhisattvas, wearing flower-crowns and long dresses are sitting on lotus pedestal.
 
Tablet-shaped Buddhist statue, Offered by some people, was a popular and special kind of Buddhist art in North Dynasty. It decreased in Sui and was no more existed in the Tang Dynasty. This tablet-shaped Buddhist statue, in terms of subject matter and style, is similar to grotto art.
 
5. Five Buddhist Statues of West Wei
Five Buddhist Statues, a Buddha, two Bodhisattvas and two disciples are carved on a vertical stone tablet.
 
These statues are engraved exquisitely with smooth carving lines. Their faces are comely and their shoulders are rawboned. According to the formative features and their dresses, the Buddhist Statues may be the cultural relics from West Wei Time.
 
The comely Buddha statue in the middle is wide belted and in shoulder-connected loose cassock.
 
6. Buddhist Statues from North Zhou
Here are a group of Buddhist statues from North Zhou, including some Budhisattvas. Bodhisattva assists Buddha in relief the flesh from abyss of misery to the Paradise. Bodhisattva is only inferior to Buddha, but superior to Arhat. Bodhisattvas always live in common people’s world, preach Buddhist doctrine and guide people to get rid of abyss of misery. Bodhisattvas are much closer to common people than the Buddha himself and are more easily accepted by the commons. Sometimes people adore Bodhisattvas more than Buddha.
 
7. Gilded Buddhist statues donated by Dongqing
These 118 inscription words, on one side of the base, tell that the Buddhist statues were cast by Dongqing in 584 of Sui Dynasty. The statue is 41cm high and 24cm wide. The three statues in the middle are the Three Holy Triads of the West:  Amitabha  sits on lotus pedestal in the middle with bare foot Manjusri Buddha on the left and the Goddess of Mercy on the right, both standing on lotus pedestals, before them are two warriors. The front center of the pedestal is placed with an incense burner, under which a nude dwarf is holding the burner. Two crouching tigers are standing in the front. The right and back side of the pedestal are inscribed with eulogy. This gilded statue is well preserved and fine in craftsmanship which is one of the three national treasures in this museum.
These statues are composed of 23 parts. Buddha, Bodhisattvas, guards and lotus pedestals, individually cast and connected by tenon-and-mortise works, can be dismantled. These statues, gilded all over and protected quite well, are a treasure of gilded statues.
 
Buddha Statues made in Tang Dynasty
In the Sui and Tang dynasties, temple construction was on an unprecedented occasion. After Emperor Sui Wendi ascended the throne, he advocated Buddhism vigorously. He ordered the country to promulgate Buddhist scriptures, make Buddha statues, and absorb monks and nuns. In the course of construction of the Daxing City, he planned to build up 120 temples. In the Tang dynasty, there came forth 8 sects of Buddhism, Each sect had their patriarchal courts in ancient Chang'an city, According to the recordation of Textual Research on Chang’an and Luoyang of the Tang Dynasty, there were 122 temples and 21 nunneries verifiable in Chang'an of the Tang Dynasty. As for Buddha statues in this period, some in earlier stage were still characterized by style of Northern Dynasties. Later on, the statues were completely in Chinese style with reasonable proportion of head, body and confidence. In the late stage, the style appeared reserved and rigid, but accurate modeling, comfortable proportion and skilled handcraft. So the statues were in tendency of realism and common customs.
 
8. Heavenly King Statue
This white marble Heavenly King statue is from Tang Dynasty. Heavenly King originated from Guardian Deity of Buddhism. Buddhism has been converted to Chinese one after it was introduced to China in Eastern Han Dynasty. Guardian Deity gradually lost his original appearance and status, changed to a Chinese Warrior image, whose symbolic meaning has exceeded the Buddhism, or has become a symbol of justice and vigor in our world.  
 
Heavenly King is considered to suppress evil spirits and protect Buddhism doctrine. It is supposed to pretend the owner of the tomb from harassment as well. So Heavenly King was placed in tombs as Guardian Deity.
 
This white marble Heavenly King statue is sculptured by adept skill. His facial expression, posture, clothes and trappings are harmonious to each other, which embody the perfect unification of his body and spirit. The remains of painting at his head and armor faded. Another similar Heavenly King is facing to him on the other side.
 
9. Iron Buddha Sculpture
This Tang Iron Buddha Statue, as a whole, is beautifully made with a mature skill and done according to a real person. It not only copies man’s figure well, but also display vividly the dynamic beauty of Buddha. It is the best preserved and heaviest iron Buddha statue made in the Tang Dynasty.
 
10. Gilded Buddha statue
There are many Buddha statues in this long rectangular display cabinet. The gilded sitting Buddha statue on the right, built in 16 countries time (304-439), is the oldest Buddha statue discovered so far in Xi'an.
 
This sitting Buddha in round-collared and shoulders-connected coat takes a crossed- leg sitting position, whose two hands are in mudra of meditation. The ripples of clothes present a “U” shape.
 
Its pedestal is square at front and round behind; two holes behind the Buddha’s head are for fixing the top light. There are inscription words behind the pedestal.
 
          Features of Buddha statues from Song, Ming and Qing Dynasty
Since the Song Dynasty, social consciousness has tended to realism with the development of the Confucian sect and flourishing of commerce. Traditional statue making standard was belittled and the number of Buddha statues turned smaller and smaller. While most Buddha statues made in the Song and Yuan dynasty were elaborately carved and round. They were in broad and succinct outline of dressing, with reasonable proportion of body conformation. The statues kept the plain, succinct and dignified style of the Tang Dynasty. In the Ming dynasty, statues carried on the art style of the Song and Yuan dynasties, with round knife skill but with rough handcraft and dull layout and lack of vigor. Statues in the Qing Dynasty were stately symmetry in figure, with constantly prettified skill, realistic technology, and magnificent decoration. They showed naturalism but slightly rigid, and lacked of inner charm and vigor.
 
11. Buddhist arhats from Song Dynasty
Arhat is a disciple of Buddha. Buddhism says, every follower of Buddhism may have four different results, or different levels  which they get through spiritual practice. Arhat is the most highly level, only inferior to Buddha and Bodhisattvas.
 
Buddhism believes that an Arhat has enlightened, has got rid of endless circles of birth and death. There are different sayings about the number of Arhats: ten disciples of Buddha, four Arhat, sixteen Arhats and eighteen Arhats. Eighteen Arhats have great influence in our society, whose statues and paintings are quite popular in our life. There are many halls to hold five hundred Arhats in temples. It is said that those five hundred Arhats met and compiled Buddhist doctrines after Buddha’s Nirvana, which is the origin of five hundred Arhats.
 
Buddhist statues features of Song Dynasty are: Because of Zen Buddhism’s influence, sanctity and ideality of Buddha sculpture weakened, but secularize elements increased. There were more secularized Arhats statues appeared to replace Bodhisattvas and Warriors which had been popular in Tang Dynasty. These secularized Arhats statues, quite welcomed by the folks have improved the spread of Buddhism.
 
                   The Exhibition of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy
Chinese Painting and Calligraphy have a long history with profound traditions and unique national style. Calligraphy and painting have the same origin, which are both the art of brush and ink. The ancients made painting and calligraphy a special media to express their own thought and their individual style of arts. Therefore, Chinese painting and calligraphy have a unique position in the arts of ancient times. Chinese painting and calligraphy cover a wide range of subjects with abundant connotations and diversified styles in different periods. Chinese painting and calligraphy not only have high artistic value, but also provide a good insight into ancient societies. Xi'an is one of the birth places of Chinese painting and calligraphy. Banpo and Jiangzhai Sites are famous for their collected colored pottery paintings. Xi'an was also the center of national painting and calligraphy arts during the Zhou, Qin Han and Tang dynasties. We have collected almost ten thousand items of painting and calligraphy works from different dynasties, some of them are the work of very famous artists. The paintings and calligraphy works exhibited here today are mainly from the Ming Qing dynasties, together with some excellent contemporary and modern art works. These exhibitions not only show the local features of the painting and calligraphy works during different periods in Xi'an area, but also reflect the long tradition and profundity of Chinese paintings and calligraphy as a whole.
 
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a kind of traditional art of Chinese characters to reflect the writer's perception, interest and taste. In the early New Stone Age, Yangshao culture period, the earliest portray signals appeared, which were the early form of calligraphy. Since then, it has formed different styles of Chinese characters ranging from Jin Wen (Inscriptions on Bronze) in the Shang and Zhou dynasties, Small seal script in the Qin Dynasty, and Han Slave Script, Wei Tablet inscription, Tang regular script, Song Running Style, Small Regular script in the Ming Dynasty. These different styles of calligraphy have formed a unique art category in China.
 
Figure Portrait
Figure portrait is a big part of Chinese painting. It appeared earlier than landscape painting, and flower-bird painting. Due to its different focus, the portrait can be classified into figure portrait, Buddhist wall-painting, Chinese painting of beautiful women in Chinese history, Chinese historical story painting, and genre painting. The traditional Chinese painting always focuses on the vivid expression of people’s special personal character in the different environment, atmosphere, body gesture and their movements.
 
Flowers, Birds and Animals paintings
Take flowers, birds and animals as the main theme. The type of painting originally started from the figure portrait in Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern dynasties, and well developed individually in the Sui and Tang dynasties, and reached its peak in the Song and Yuan dynasties, even in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The type of paintings, with the theme of birds, animals and plants, express the painters’ different stories, feelings wishes or their own inner thoughts or ideas.
 
Landscape Painting
Landscape painting is subject to natural scenery, like mountains and rivers. It originated from the figure portrait in Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern dynasties and became an independent painting school in the Sui and Tang dynasties. It was well developed and became more sophisticated in the five dynasties and Northern Song Period. Traditionally, this landscaped painting can be classified into heavy color painting, heavy color painting with gold outline, light warm color painting, water ink painting, painting without an outline and light color painting.
           
 Exhibition of the  Seals
Seals are a unique part of Chinese history and culture. In ancient times, they were used for identification and as a token of authority. They became popular during the Warring /states Period. The ancient seats were a combination of calligraphy, sculpture and plastic arts. They could be made of various materials with abundant designs. Seals created a great environment for the ancient arts. The design and the style of characters in the seals changed with different times, and the art of seal-making had been formed in a special school. Tens of hundreds of the clay seals in the Qin and Jin dynasties were unearthed at Han Chang’an ruins in Xi’an. 279 official seals were unearthed under the Drum Tower Square alone. These have created great interest in the world. The different types of seals exhibited here represent many different functions, such as the common official seals, personal seal, as well as some rare religious seals and signature seals. These have proven to be very important for studying the seal system and seal-making craftsmanship in ancient times. (Writen by Angela Zhang Yue)
 

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Attractions of Xian


  1. Foping Nature Reserve for Giant Pandas
  2. Xian Ox Culture and Ceramics Museum
  3. North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  4. Changqing Nature Reserve
  5. Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
  6. Chenlu Ancient Town
  7. Maoxian
  8. Xian
  9. Zhaoling Mausoleum
  10. Yong Le Gong Temple
  11. Qianling Mausoleum
  12. Mausoleum of Yellow Emperor
  13. Han Yangling Mausoleum
  14. Shaanxi Foping National Reserve
  15. Famen Temple
  16. Xian Ancient City Wall
  17. Shaanxi History Museum-II
  18. Bell & Drum Towers
  19. Banpo Museum
  20. Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses
  21. Shaanxi Grand Theater
  22. Peasant Painting Exhibition Hall in Huxian
  23. Huxian Farmer's painting
  24. Tang Dynasty Art Museum
  25. Great Mosque
  26. Hui Nationality
  27. Islamic Religion
  28. Qianling Mausoleum
  29. Hukou Waterfalls
  30. Yan'an Pagoda
  31. Shaanxi Delicacy
  32. City God Temple in Sanyuan
  33. Xingqing Palace
  34. Daming Palace
  35. Blue Dragon Temple
  36. Feiyuan Museum
  37. Mount Hua
  38. Shaanxi History Museum
  39. Anwu Village
  40. Welcome Ceremony at the Ancient City Wall
  41. Luoguantai Shrine
  42. Han Maoling Mausoleum
  43. Han Yangling Tomb
  44. Yao Zhou Kiln Museum
  45. Qujiang Pool
  46. Xian Museum
  47. Xian High Tech Industries Development Zone
  48. The Silk Road
  49. Small Wild Goose Pagoda
  50. Forest of Stone Tablets
  51. Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuangdi
  52. Xianyang
  53. Fuping Ceramic Art Village and Fule International Ceramic Art Museum
  54. Huaqing Hot Springs
  55. Banpo Village Museum
  56. Han Changling Mausoleum
  57. Big Wild Goose Pagoda
  58. Daming Palace National Heritage Park
  59. All Day Mall of the Great Tang Dynasty
  60. International Horticulture Exposition 2011 Xian
  61. Drum Tower
  62. Bell Tower
  63. Xingjiao Temple
  64. Bell Tower
  65. Mt.Hua
  66. Pit No.3 of Terra Cotta Army
  67. Pit No.2 of Terra Cotta Army
  68. Pit No.1 of Terra Cotta Army
  69. Dim Sum Delicacy
  70. Tomb of Princess Yongtai
  71. Bronze Chariots and Horses
  72. Tang Paradise

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