Splendour and Mystery of Ancient Shu – Cultural Relics from Sanxingdui and Jinsha
Thematic Galleries (1), (2) & (5) and Function Place,
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
06 June 2007 - 09 September 2007
 




For many years, the North China or Central Plains in the middle reaches of the Yellow River was considered the centre of Chinese civilization. This traditional concept, formulated in the phrase "the Chinese in the inner area, the barbarians in the outer regions", was fundamentally uprooted, however, by new archaeological discoveries made in the late 1980s. Displaying unique local, indigenous features, finds at a site in Sanxingdui revealed a highly developed ancient Shu civilization. Sanxingdui provides concrete proof of the existence of a regional cultural centre, with its own distinctive traits, that played a large part in the formation and development of the wider Chinese civilization.


The discovery of the Sanxingdui site dates back to 1929, but it was not until 1986 that it drew the attention – and the amazement – of the world. That was the year that two sacrificial pits were found at the site and a host of artefacts was unearthed, including advanced bronze, gold and jade ware in unique and previously unknown styles.


Then, in 2001, a new site was discovered some 50 kilometres away at Jinsha. Relics very similar to those found at Sanxingdui were excavated, including jade, gold, bronze and stone ware as well as ivory, that provided valuable clues to the development of the Sanxingdui culture.


The archaeological sites of Sanxingdui and Jinsha offer important keys for unlocking the mysteries of the ancient Shu Kingdom. They also represent a significant cultural core in the Yangtze River valley. With the generous assistance of the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, over 120 archaeological treasures including huge bronze heads, bronze masks, gold sceptre, gold-foil ornaments, jade cong, jade rings, jade ge blades, pottery, cowry shells and turtle plastron selected from the collections of the Sanxingdui Museum, Chengdu Museum and the Sichuan Provincial Institute of Archaeology, are showcased in this exhibition. They reveal the brilliant civilization that once existed in the ancient Shu region thousands of years ago.




Pluralistic Development and Cultural Interaction: A study of the Assimilation into the Han Chinese Civilization of the Ancient Yue Culture in the Pearl River Delta and the Ancient Shu Culture in Sichuan Province (Abstract)


 


Exhibit Highlights

Bronze bird perched on bud of mythical tree Bronze bird perched on bud of mythical tree
c. 1300 - 1100 BCE
Excavated in 1986 at Pit 2, Sanxingdui
Collection of Sanxingdui Museum



Bronze head with gold mask
c. 1300 - 1100 BCE
Excavated in 1986 at Pit 2, Sanxingdui
Collection of Sanxingdui Museum

Bronze head with gold mask


Bronze mask with protruding pupils Bronze mask with protruding pupils
c. 1300 - 1100 BCE
Excavated in 1986 at Pit 2, Sanxingdui
Collection of Sanxingdui Museum



Jade cong
c. 1200 - 771 BCE
Excavated in 2001 at the Jinsha site
Collection of Chengdu Museum

Jade cong




Other Past Exhibitions