The Sanxingdui Museum is near an archaeological site that dates to the Neolithic, Shang and Zhou periods. In 1988 this site was declared a National Key Cultural Relics Protected Unit, due to its scope, the wealth of its contents, and the rarity and precious nature of its excavated objects. Before your Yangtze River cruise starts, if you still have some, paying a visit to Sanxingdui Museum is highly recommended.
The site is north of Nanxing Town of Guanghan City in Sichuan Province. It is mainly located on the raised platform between the Yazi River and the Mamu River and it covers 12 square kilometers in total area. The most concentrated parts of the site are at the towns of Sanxing, Rensheng, Zhenwu, and Huilong.
The artifacts from Sanxingdui have had global influence. In 1986, two large Shang-period sacrificial pits were unearthed with more than one thousand gold, bronze, and jade objects, shocking the entire country and shaking the world. Among other things, the finds proved that Sanxingdui was the capital of the ancient Shu Kingdom more than 3,000 years ago. Of all the objects excavated at Sanxingdui, the bronzes are the most fabulous and strange, with their high degree of historical, artistic and scientific value. If you are a relics-lovers, discovering the Sanxingdui Museum would undoubtedly a must-have along your China vacation packages of Sichuan.
Ceramics: Most of the ceramics unearthed at Sanxingdui are made of 'jiashahe' clay and are made on a wheel. They date mainly from four periods: the first from some 4,800 to 4,000 years ago, during a representative Neolithic period culture in the Sichuan basin, the second is roughly contemporary with Xia to Shang, the third with the late Shang, and the fourth with late Shang to the early Western Zhou. From the shape, decoration, and base and method of manufacture, the above ceramics represent an unbroken line of development of Shu culture.
Jades: Although not numerous, the level of production is high and these are well preserved. Among them are ceremonial objects, military objects and tools, with the blades still as sharp as when they were buried. The blades of these objects are so very thin that one can see they were ceremonial in nature and not for actual work or warfare.
Gold objects: Not only were the gold objects excavated from Sanxingdui very finely made but they were quite special. They included face masks and various kinds of ceremonial equipment. Among them, a gold staff, with a human head carved on top with fish, birds, and grain is executed in a fine manner with an extremely beautiful pattern.
Bronzes: The Sanxingdui bronzes have been exhibited both inside and outside China and have shaken the field of art history. The imaginative power of the human statues in particular, their artistic exaggeration, majesty, refinement, and execution make them truly divine works among Shang and Zhou bronzes.
To many mature-appreciating-lovers, Yangtze River tour would be the most attractive destination if they only have time for one attraction in Chongqing, while to the culture-lovers, they may prefer to pay a visit to the Sanxingdui Museum to get closer to ancient Ba Shu culture.
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