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Hubei Provincial Museum

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A bronze stoneware

One of Wuhan’s most famous and impressive attractions is the Hubei Provincial Museum. Standing by the beautiful East Lake, it was opened in 1956 to showcase some of Hubei’s incredible archaeological finds.

The museum is built on a massive scale. It covers an area of more than 51,000 square meters and has over 9,000 square meters of floor space. A 170-strong staff team makes sure that everything runs smoothly.  

As for the exhibitions, the scale is equally impressive. There are about 200,000 relics and items with a distinctly local flavor. Important examples are a bronze chime bell from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of the Zeng State, many bronzes, the Sword of King Goujian of the Yue State, the Spear of King Fuchai of the Wu State, the Jiangling Chu Bamboo Slip and the Yumeng Bamboo Slip.

Digs in Hubei province have unearthed Paleolithic artefacts such as the Yunxi and Changyan pithecanthropus fossils as well Neolithic finds in Chengbeixi, Daxi, Qujialing and Xijiahe. These discoveries prove that the Changjiang and Yellow River Valleys were the cradles of Chinese culture and civilization.

Nearly 300 Chu State tombs have been excavated in Hubei, yielding tens of thousands of relics which are now on show in the museum. One noteworthy find was a collection of silks from the No.1 Mashan Chu Tomb. To find ancient silk in such good condition is extremely rare, and the hoard is known as the Silk Treasury of the Warring States Period. Thousands of lacquer items were found in the tomb too.

The museum also holds artefacts from the 1973 discovery of an ancient copper smelter on Tonglu Mountain in Dazhi. This finding shows that China led the world in mining and smelting techniques from the Warring States Period through the Western Han Dynasty.

So if you want to get a taste of Hubei’s rich history, be sure to pay a visit to the Provincial Museum when you are in Wuhan.