Current Exhibitions

Changsha Mawangdui Han Dynasty Tombs Exhibition

3rd Floor
Permanent Exhibition

Free admission

The excavation of the three Western Han Dynasty Tombs at Mawangdui, Changsha, which took place between 1972 and 1974, was one of the world’s most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The fully preserved tomb structure as well as a wealth of funerary items serve to fully embody everyday life and funeral concepts during the Han Dynasty. Over 700 exquisite lacquer items with intricate workmanship reflect the brilliant accomplishments of Han Dynasty lacquerware, and over 500 exquisite textile garments fully attest to the “Kingdom of Silk” (Seres) in the Western historical records. More than 50 bamboo slips and silk manuscripts serve as “encyclopedias”, demonstrating the knowledge and wisdom of the ancient sages. Strange and bizarre coffin paintings embody the fantasies of people in the Han Dynasty ascending to the heavens and longing for external life, while the dreamlike face of a deceased woman is a testament to extraordinary preservation techniques. The Mawangdui Han Dynasty Tombs are renowned as the exemplar of the history and civilization in the early Han Dynasty, providing a window to understand society in China over 2,100 years ago.

Hunanese

2nd Floor
Permanent Exhibition

Free admission

Hunan, located in the central Chinese hinterland, is bounded in the north by the waters of Lake Dongting, embraced on three sides by majestic mountains, and crisscrossed by the four rivers, Xiang, Zi, Yuan, and Li. The province, known as the “Land of the Hibiscus” since Tang Dynasty, is blessed with rich resources and a temperate climate. The region was settled almost 500,000 years ago by people who have welcomed migrants over various periods with open hearts. The descendants of these original settlers and generations of migrants make up the “Hunanese” we know today. From the earliest domestication of wild rice to the breeding of rice cultivars and finally to the growing of the hybrid rice of today, Hunan has always been grounded in rice farming. Over the generations, the diligent and wise people of Hunan, with their practical minds, have engaged in mutual help and built a comfortable pastoral home for themselves. In the process, they created a land abundant with food, which is known as “the Granary of China”. From eating rice with fish to enjoying spicy and hot flavors, the people of Hunan practice a way of life that has been passed down through the generations and seek a way of life that is above and beyond the mere utilitarian. Shang and Zhou (1600--256 B.C.) ritual music instruments made out of bronze, lacquered-wood vessels from the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.--220 A.D.), the popular Changsha ceramics in the Tang Dynasty (618--907 A.D.), and the well-educated farmstead family of Ming and Qing periods (1368--1912A.D.): these are all reflections of Hunanese customs and beliefs, and the Hunan way of life. For thousands of years, due to deep immersion in the culture of the Central Plains, patriotic thoughts, strong scholastic heritage, and modern ideological agitations cultivated the generations of great men who have emerged from Hunan. The people of Hunan are bold, fiercely patriotic, and deeply loyal.

当前展览-专题陈列

The Artworks of the Wang School: Wang kaiyun and his disciples

Themed Exhibition Hall, 3F
Wang Kaiyun (1833-1916), styled himself Renqiu and Renfu, was born in Xiangtan, Hunan Province. Wang Kaiyun passed the imperial exams at the provincial level during the reign of Xianfeng Emperor and once worked for Su shun and Zeng Guofan. Later, he gave lessons at Zunjing Academy in Chengdu. He successively served as the head of Sixian Academy in Changsha and Chuanshan Academy in Hengzhou. He hosted Nanchang higher school and later gave lessons in Xiangqi building. In the Qing Dynasty, he was appointed as the post of Jiantao in Imperial Academy and later was promoted to the post of Jiangxian. In the early Republic of China period, he was the director of the Museum of Qing Dynasty History, and a part-time member of the Senate. With the writings of Xiangqilou poetry book, essays and diaries, he has made great achievements in many fields such as Confucian classics, literature, history, education, calligraphy and so on. Wang Kaiyun, a famous scholar in Hunan, with friends and disciples all over the world, was known as the leading scholar of the times. He strongly advocated to put the classics into practice, and cultivated many outstanding students studying real problems, such as Yang Du, Yang Zhuang, Yang Jun, Xia Shoutian, Qi Baishi, Bazhi Toutuo, Song Yuren, Yang Rui, Liao Ping, Hu Yuanyi, Yi Shunding, Liu Kuiyi, Ma Zonghuo, etc. To express the gratitude and nostalgia to his teacher, Qi Baishi once wrote a poem: “I often recall the past and miss my beloved teachers and old friends, but the past is gone forever. ” In the modern history of China, there are many achievements made by Wang's disciples. Many talents in Hunan Province of modern times and the revival of Bashu culture are inseparable from Wang Kaiyun's elaborate cultivation. The Hunan Museum has a rich collection of letters, paintings and calligraphy of celebrities in Hunan Province since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the museum carefully selected more than 100 pieces (sets) from the works of Wang Kaiyun and his disciples for display, including calligraphy, painting, seals, diaries, manuscripts, letters and so on, most of which are shown in the first time. Those precious exhibitions not only have important literary and historical value, but also embody the aesthetic value of scholars, which can be called as a feast of academic exchange and art appreciation. It is hoped that through this exhibition, we can go through the time tunnel to read the stories of Wang’s school and learn Wang Kaiyun’ s and his disciples’ achievements embodying the philosophy of taking the rise and fall of society as their responsibility and studying real problems, and sort out the unique cultural heritage system of Hunan Province in the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China period, so as to further promote the study of Huxiang culture in academic and art circles.

Exhibition of Guqin Culture in Hunan

3rd Floor
Guqin originally known as qin, also called a seven-stringed plucked qin and yaoqin, is one of the most ancient instruments of Chinese nation. In ancient times, it was highly praised by literati as the first of the four arts of qin, chess, calligraphy and painting. In November 2003, UNESCO declared it the "representative of oral and intangible heritage of humanity". Hunan is blessed with a long history of guqin. Shun, a chief of ancient Chinese tribal alliance, played the guqin, intoning “Nanfeng” to rein the country. Guo Mian, a musician in the Southern Song Dynasty, once moved to Hengshan Mountain and composed a song named “Mist and Clouds over Xiao-Xiang River”, which was admired by people for thousands of years. Sages as Zhu Xi, Zhang Shi, Wang Fuzhi and Zuo Zongtang spread feudal code of ethics and purified their souls by qin, adding profound cultural connotation to guqin culture in Hunna. Modern musicians, such as Peng Zhiqing, Yang Zongji, Gu Meigeng, Zha Fuxi and Li Jing were all engaged in guqin study in Hunan, which had a great impact in this field. Hunan Museum has a collection of fifty-three pieces of guqin, which were unearthed or manufactured during the time from Western Han Dynasty to Republic of China, spanning more than two thousand years. These rich heritages are undoubtedly an important part of Chinese guqin culture. “Those who play the guqin by the Xiangjiang River have good moral standards as ancient sages.” In the moonlight of Lushan Mountain and the ripple of Xiangjiang river, guqin melody is in harmony with the heaven and the earth, echoing with the universe. It is hoped that the exhibition can provide an opportunity for people from all walks of life to understand the culture of Xiaoxiang guqin and appreciate its unique charm.

Special Exhibitions