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Sichuan Travel Itinerary

Sanxingdui Museum

It is believed that Sanxingdui was capital of the ancient "Shu culture". This particular discovery, would rewrite Chinese history by unearthing a culture contemporary with the first civilizations of China but that had left no clues in historical records, that seemingly disappeared without a trace and which left artifacts never before discovered elsewhere in China.

Where it is
Guanghan, called Luoxian and Hanzhou in ancient times, is situated in the north part of the Chengdu Plain, 22km from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Being an important and famous city of Sichuan, it enjoys a long history, fertile soil and abundant produce, and has given birth to many well known people. The world-known Sanxingdui Ruins is located by the Yazihe River 6km west of the Guanghan City.

A look at the discovery
The first Sanxingdui relics were discovered by a farmer in 1929 and excavation has continued ever since. During this period, generations of archaeologists have worked on the discovery and research of the Sanxingdui culture. In 1986, two major sacrificial pits were found and they aroused widespread academic attention around the world.

The Sanxingdui remains
The Sanxingdui remains are composed of several large relic areas. The areas are the largest, most important and elegant ancient Shu cultural relics sites in Sichuan. The remains cover 12 square-km in total. Life went on here about 2,800 to 4,800 years ago, equivalent to the late Neolithic Age. 

The remains include six places: Sanxingdui on the south bank of Mamu River, the Moon Bend (that is, the tableland between the Mamu River and the Duck River), Shi Zinao to the east of the remains, Hen Liangzi in the west, Xi Quankan on the south bank of the Duck River and Dongsheng temple. The six areas belong to the central remains adapting a division of labor and social relationships. The areas are "Sanxingdui ancient country" encircled with city walls in the east, west, and south. This was just the remote Kingdom of Shu.

Two pits
In 1986, two major sacrificial pits were found and they aroused widespread academic attention around the world.

Two sacrificial pits were filled with gold masks, bronze wares, jade tablets, elephant tusks and sacred trees -- and they opened a world of mystery. The discovery pushed back the date of the bronze age in China and yet the objects made are unlike any made in any other period of Chinese civilization with the creation of human-like figures and faces particularly unique.

They left experts asking what the purpose of the objects was, where the culture came from, why there was no mention of it in historical texts and how such an ancient culture, at the origin of Chinese civilization, could be so advanced.

Theories abound, but whatever the answer; the unique part-human, part-animal masks have become the symbol of Sanxingdui and of the mysterious culture. So recently the local government invited some foreign journalists to participate in the opening of the Sanxingdui International Mask Festival at the start of the May Day holiday.

Sanxingdui Museum
The unique Sanxingdui Museum is located in the northeast of the Sanxingdui remains, near the Duck River. It is a museum equipped with modern facilities. Covering 200,000 square meters, the total investment has reached over 30 million Yuan.

Designs of the Museum
The whole design of the museum is simple, but with a solemn style. The flame is peculiar. The main object is a deformed spiral. It has the poetic charm with historical, geographical features and cultural art. It fully shows the broadness and profundity of Sanxingdui culture.

The designs of Sanxingdui Museum have many architectural breakthroughs. Modern technologies (sound, light, and electricity) are used to show the charm of the ancient site. The displays also provide foreigners with information about the history of China.

Four halls
There are 4 different exhibition halls inside the museum and the main contents displayed are the "Ancient Town, Ancient Kingdom, and Ancient Shu Culture."

The first hall
The first hall of the museum is composed of "three stars accompanying the moon", the splendid civilization of ancient Shu Cultural relics showed in this hall systemically represent the excellent achievements in every field in its long history.

The second hall
The second hall contains symbols of all kinds of gods reflecting the mysterious and primitive religion. Cultural relics showed in this hall tell people about the political structure and social relations of ancient Shu, as well as the idea of ancient people.

The third hall
The third hall is composed of "forever the soul of Shu", the special cream of relics. Here are shown over 10 groups of national treasures with historical and artistic value.

The fourth hall
The fourth hall with the scheme of "forever Sanxingdui" shows off the excavations and studies of Sanxingdui. It introduces the industrious work of generations of experts both at home and abroad in the past 50 years. It represents the great effect of Sanxingdui and the important role it plays in academic circles.

What the ruins tell us
Glorious centre
The identification of the ancient city of Sanxingdui has unveiled the mystery of history and clearly revealed to the people the glory of the ancient capital of the Shu kings, and it once again proves that the place was once a glorious centre of civilization in the ancient east.

Making up a cultural gap
It has made up an important cultural gap in the evolutionary development of the Chinese culture and as an ancient pearl displayed by colonization it also occupies its place in the history of world civilization and human development.

Cultural splendor
The Sanxingdui site and thousand of cultural relics of Shang Dynasty unearthed from which such as earthen wares, jade articles, bone articles, gold plates and bronze wares are displayed.

The cultural relics of the Sandingdui are the most influential, the most valuable and the most fascinating relics among the tremendous amount of cultural relics of China. The exhibition has many breakthroughs and novelties in terms of content and art forms in order to exhibit the large quantity of cultural treasures of Sanxingdui at this mysterious and dreamy art palace.

Mystery remain to be uncovered
The discovery of Sanxingdui shocked the world, but the history of the ruins remains a mystery.

The bronze wares from the Sanxingdui we see today are but only small scraps of an immemorial and brilliant civilization. Where was the Sanxingdui culture from? Which clan did the residents of the ruins belong to? How did the advanced bronze manufacture techniques come into being? And how did they decline and die out? The archaeological project at the Sanxingdui ruins is ongoing. Mysterious and magnificent, the Sanxingdui civilization is a unique and dazzling page in China's long history.

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