This museum is a grave. The dug mausoleum of Emperor Liu Qi is fundamental to understand the more outstanding terracotta warriors.
In the dark corridors, we can see lots of small dolls, buried with the emperor, and, according to the tradition, representing people to serve him. The small step from dolls to actual size figures was only a matter of power and ambition.
The modern museum of Xi’an covers from the prehistory to period of the terracotta warriors.
The skull of the man of Beijing is the starting point for a reasonable collection, with some beautiful bronzes.
The Shaanxi History Museum is excellent, filled with one beautiful piece after another. The exhibits are arranged by time period, beginning with the earliest artifacts and continuing through the centuries. T
he collection includes Tang Dynasty treasures found in a nearby village, and a few terracotta soldiers. Photos are allowed.
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:30-6 from April to Oct (from Nov-March, 9-5)
You must visit this museum. Here we can see the terracotta warriors up close. There was a long queue for free tickets (if you show your passport) when we were there. Luckily, I was able to "persuade" a guard to let me have two tickets minus the queuing.
This museum in nearby Xianyang City was the first stop on my Western Tour which also included the Tomb of Huo Qubing, Qianling Tomb and Famen Temple. The museum is housed in a former Confucian Temple and was opened in 1962. It features nine exhibition halls and a stele corridor. Among the rich cultural relics, the 3,000 painted miniature Terracotta Warriors and Horses of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC - 24AD) are the most famous. Other exhibits include historical relics from the Qin dynasty such as various fine potteries, jade articles and the famous Qin bricks. There is also the biggest sitting bronze Buddha of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in China.
This new museum, which opened in May 2007, is located near the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, to the south of the city centre. As many as 130,000 fine cultural relics are kept in the museum, most of which were unearthed in the important tombs and the capital sites of the Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC-221 BC), the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC), the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), and the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The underground exhibition hall features many relics that have been unearthed, showing the history of Xian, the one-time capital of 13 dynasties, its economy, social life, as well as cultural exchange and trade with foreign countries. On display are bronzes, pottery figurines, Buddhist statues, stone sculpture, architectural pieces, gold ware, jade, calligraphy and a huge scale model of Chang'an (old Xian).
As well as the stele, the museum also exhibits some important stone carvings including mausoleum stone sculpture and religious stone sculpture from the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). On display are the six legendary steeds from the Zhoaling tomb, Li Shu's stone outer coffin, twin beasts of the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25-220), and the head statue of Bodhisattva.
Open: 8am-6.45pm. Admission: RMB45.
This particular stele is of great importance to western visitors to the museum as it details the earliest existence of Christianity in China when it was erected in 781. The stele documents the existence of Christian communities in several cities in northern China and reveals that the church had initially received recognition by the Tang Emperor Taizong in 635 when the Nestorian arrived. The stele is said to have been buried in 845 after Christianity was forbidden but was later found in 1625.
Open: 8am-6.45pm. Admission: RMB45.
This museum occupies the 11th century Confucian Temple and houses nearly 3,000 steles in seven exhibition halls. The Stele Forest began with the Kaicheng Shi Jing Steles and ***ai Xiao Jing Steles, two groups of steles both carved in the Tang dynasty. In 904, a rebel army sacked Xian (then known as Chang'an), and the two stele were evacuated to the inner city. In 962, they were again moved to the rebuilt temple to Confucius. The museum is recognised as holding the largest collection of the earliest stone steles of different periods, from the Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty.
Open: 8am-6.45pm. Admission: RMB45.
We stopped here en route to the Terracotta Warriors site.
The Lintong Museum is housed in an old temple. The architecture is simply stunning; even if you're not usually a museum person, a walk around the buildings and gardens here is really nice in itself. The museum is however very interesting and houses finds of the area.
The Shaanxi History Museum is one of the two must-see sights in Xi'an (the other being the Terra Cotta Warriors). It is a modern museum that was built to house relics from the area's history, focusing on the area's prehistory and the the various dynasties up through the Tang Dynasty, when Xi'an, then called Changan, was the capital of China and one of the world's largest and most powerful cities. The exhibits features pottery, bronze pieces, coins, and sculptures from the varios periods arranged in dynastic order. Additional information about each of the time periods is provided by short films as you enter each area.
One thing that you must know before visiting the museum is that they limit the number of visitors each day, so people line up before it opens to get a ticket. We got there at 10AM and the line was down the block. Fortunately for us, there was a separate and much shorter line for senior citizens, disabled persons and families with children, so Anna (our 7-year old) saved the day (and about 2 hours). One other quirk about the museum's ticket system is that foreigners must show their passports to get a ticket (1 ticket per passport). We heard that they sometimes make exceptions to the ticket limit for tourists that can show an airline ticket proving that they are flying out that day and won't get another chance to see the museum, but we can't verify it.
Without a doubt, the Shanxi History Museum is the best museum in China, with a collection of more than 370,000 exhibits, though none of us can see all of its exhibits. The complex was built in the Tang dynasty style architecture; the exhibits cover a time period from the Stone Age-1.7 million years ago to the 20 century.
I have visited it no less than 4 times. Every time I was attracted by those items related to the civilization, art and culture. There are so many exhibits that it would take forever to see and learn about all of them. I'm sure that you will enjoy the national treasures and the ancient wisdom during the visit. Look at the pics of my tip, and then discover these treasures.
Tang frescoes made 1300 years ago are shown in Shanxi History Museum. They are beautiful, but they are displayed only on Mon, Wed and Fri, and there is a extra charge of 150 or 200 yuan. Maybe it will change.
The museum is open from 8:00 to 17:00. The entrance fee is 35 yuan. It is as great as the Terrocotta Army, so please put it into the list of must-see attractions in Xi'an.
This is an excellent museum, with exhibits including artefacts ranging from the prehistoric era via Qin, Han and Tang etc. to the Ming dynasty.
I found the metal joints that were designed to hold building timbers in place particularly interesting. I was also fascinated by the animal themed pots and grave goods. The latter included a model of a workshop and a pig sty.
Allow plenty of time for a visit - we ended up rushing it, as we were delayed in traffic jams visiting the Terracotta Army.
There is a 570m long street that was revamped in 1990 and 1991 to recapture the ancient Ming and Qing-style store fronts (much of the funds came from the residents themselves).
The result is a short walk down a market street with much of the storefronts, roofs, signs, and everything giving you a feel of the ancient days.
Halfway down the street is the ancient Guanzhong Academy.
At the end of the street is the Forest of Stones Museum. It has an impressive collection of stone manuscripts, tombstones and documents dating back over nearly 2000 years. The ancient "library" was founded in 1087, but now has some collections from the Han dynasties of 2nd century B.C.
To follow up my note on the Pagodas, there is a large display of the ancient horse stakes here. Amazing craftsmanship and awe of the past...
The Forest of Stelae Museum collects above 1000 stone tablets, along with other artifacts. The history of the museum is nearly 1000 years. Some exhibits are classified as national treasures.
One one hand, the museum is a library about the Chinese civilization and history, which is called "documented on the stone". One the other hand, it's the museum of calligraphy and sculpture made of stones.