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Hunan Provincial Museum  

Hunan Provincial Museum has rich collections, among which Mawangdui Han Tomb, Bronze ware crafts of Shang and Zhou Dynasties, the cultural relics of Wu Kingdom are the most special.

The display of Mawangdui Han Tomb is the basic display of the museum. In the exhibition hall, there are coat as thin as cicada, well-kept floral print gown, all sorts of delicate needlework, bright lacquer work with colored drawing, silk painting with colored drawing, silk book with rich content, all sorts of wooden tomb figures, musical instruments and weapons. The most surprising one is the well-preserved female corpse from Western Han Dynasty which has been buried under earth for more than 2100 years. Although the beautiful feature of the corpse cannot been seen anymore, there are lenitive skin, abundant subcutaneous fat and flexible parenchyma, which are well unusual in archaeology. It also proves the highly developed technology of ancient China.

There are also celadon porcelains of Xiangyin Xiangyin Kiln and Yuezhou Kiln in Sui and Tang Dynasties, underglaze-printed porcelain of Changsha Kiln in Tang and Five Dynasties, the duplication of Wang Xizhi’s Preface to the Orchid Pavilion by people in Tang Dynasty and the script of famous ideologist in the end of Ming and the beginning of Qing Dynasties. All of these collections are highly valued.

While appreciate the precious collections of the museum, the beautiful environment of the museum can also show the history. Surrounded by trees, the museum is quite and elegant, with a mix of old exhibition building, office building and new exhibition hall, which shows the variance of the times through comparison. The new exhibition was built in the end of the twentieth century. Of primitive simplicity, it is magnificent and shows the rich content of Hunan's culture through its unique style. It has become one of the symbolic architectures of Changsha.

Mawangdui Han Tombs

Collections of the Mawangdui Han Tomb are gems of the provincial museum. The tombs were unearthed from Mawangdui in the east suburb of Changsha city near Liuyang River between 1972 and 1974. The female corpse excavated form No one Han Tomb has a history of over 2100 years. It is well-preserved and similar to fresh corpse: the whole body is lenitive; some of the joints can be moved; the parenchyma is still flexible. It is different from mummy or cadaver tanned in peat hog. It is a miracle in antisepsis. When the tomb was first discovered, it shocked the world and has attracted many scholars and tourists. After anatomization, the body and entrails of the corpse are displayed in a special designed basement.

More than 3,000 relics have been unearthed from the three tombs, most of which are well preserved. There are 500 pieces of lacquer works, which are delicate, luxury and shining as new. The abundant silk products from No 1 tomb are quite precious, including well preserved thin silk, silk, yarn, brocade and so on. One of the most outstanding representatives is a silk coat which is as light as the mist and as fine as gossamer. It is 1.28 meters (about 1.40 yards) in length with a pair of long sleeves, but weighs only 49 grams. The silk paintings are the earliest works to describe the daily life at that time discovered until now. There are also color potteries, silk books, weapons, musical instruments, seals and so on.

The coffin excavated from Number 1 tomb is decorated with the odd images of animals and gods on its lacquered surface and has a relatively high artistic value. The large amount silk books unearthed from No 3 tomb are precious historical literature materials. The books cover ancient philosophy, history, technology and so on. There are 28 sorts of books and with a total of 120,000 words. There are also several books with drawings, most of which are lost ancient books.

A map excavated from Number 2 tomb will provide another surprise. Its drawing technique is very advanced, place marks being very similar to a modern map. It was praised as 'a striking discovery' by foreigners when exhibited in America, Japan, Poland and many other countries.

Wanwanghui Han Tomb site is located at the east suburb of Changsha City, five kilometers to the center of the city. According to legend, it is the tomb of Ma Yin, the King of Kingdom Chu, so it is named Mawangdui. Among the three Han tombs, No 2 tomb is of Marquis Quan Li Cang, the administrator of Changsha in the beginning of Han Dynasty. No 1 tomb is of the wife the Li Cang. No 2 tomb is of the son of Li Cang.

Of the three tombs, No 1 tomb is the biggest, 19.5 meters long from north to south, 17.8 meters wide from east to west, with a depth of 16 meters. Now the No 1 and 2 tombs have been blocked up. No 3 tomb has been preserved after reinforcement. A new cover has been built to make it convenient for people to visit it.

Overseas tourists often mention Mawangdui and Qin Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses Figurines in the same breath. Mawangdui Han Tomb has become a treasure of China.