Since the Song Dynasty, Shaanxi lost its position as the nation- al capital, but it remained a place of strategic importance for the feudal dynasties to maintain control of the country's Northwest and Southwest. On the other hand, it was still the military, political, economic, and cultural centre in the Northwestern area.
This is a set of bronze chess pieces of the Song Dynasty. They are similar to their contemporary counterparts in both the number and name.
This is a Song brick unearthed in Ganquan County, Shaanxi. It is engraved with a design of the yangko (folk) dance. This veri- fies that the yangko dance, popular in Northern Shaanxi today must have been originated at least from the Song Dynasty.
When the army of the Kingdom of Jin in the north swept southward to overthrow the Song Dynasty, it advanced along three routes, one of which led to the capture of Shaanxi. These pottery figurines of Sumo wrestlers, the mould-board to print Jiao-money are'all Jin relics unearthed in Shaanxi.
Chinese Sumo began in the Han Dynasty. It was not regarded as a competitive sport at that time, but a fist-fight exercise in the military, aimed at body building and willpower tempering.
Jiao-money is actually a kind of paper currency, the most im- portant currency in the Jin Dynasty that was circulated in wide area. The mould-board was used to print this kind of currency. These are the Yuan cultural relics unearthed in Shaanxi. The Mongolians unified China and founded the Yuan Dynasty. The Mongols are nomadic people who are apt at horse riding. Therefore, horses are a common subject matter among Yuan relics. In the case are displayed the pottery figurines of cavalrymen of the Yuan Dy- nasty.
This magic iron plate was unearthed from the ruins of the Anxi Palace of the Yuan Dynasty. The magic plate is engraved with 36 Arabic numerals. The magic about this plate is that the sum of any of the six horizontally, vertically and diagonally aligned numerals e- quals 111. This was regarded as mysterious in ancient times, and the plate was thus called "a magic plate". It was placed under the foundations of the palace to fend off evil spirits and disasters. This magic plate is the earliest material proof of the use of Arabic numer- als in Chinese mathematics.
The Ming Dynasty took over Shaanxi in 1369 A. D. and changed Fengyuan Road to Xi'an prefectural government. This was the first time that the City of Xi'an used its present name. In the display case is a record of land measurements, called fish-scale book in the Ming Dynasty. The Ming government collected taxes accord- ing to the book. It is the earliest fish-scale book that has been dis- covered thus far.
This is a provincial level examination paper during the reign of Emperor Guang Xu of the Qing Dynasty. The imperial examination system, which began in the Sui Dynasty, sought to recruit civil of- ficials through conducted written examinations, which were nor- mally held once every three years. There was always an exception. If such case arose, extra examination would be given. This is called "Bestowed Exam". This examination paper has the characters of "Bestowed Exam". It was an additional examination in order to congratulate Emperor Guang Xu on his ascending the throne.
Clothing is a comprehensive indicator of the level of material production and ideological and cultural development during a partic- ular social period. This set of porcelain figurines from the Song and Ming dynasties feature characteristics of their own times. They pro- vide us with valuable data for the study of social life and social cus- toms during that time.
The Song rulers advocated Cheng Yi's and Zhu Xi's Neo-con- fucianism. As a result of its influence, clothing tended to be re- served and conservative in style, colours being simple and plain.
In the Yuan Dynasty, the males wore narrow-sleeved and tight fitting clothes, the robes reaching to their knees. With belts at their waists, and boots on their feet, these clothes bear a typical Mongo- lian style.
The massive guard of honour was unearthed from the tomb of Zhu Shuang, Zhu Yuanzhang's son. Zhu Yuanzhang was the founder and the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Members of the guard wear different uniforms which indicate their different ranks and different responsibilities. The art of Chinese pottery fig- urines decreased after the Tang Dynasty. It was thought to have, more or less, come to an end by the Ming Dynasty. The discovery of this large number of pottery figurines filled a blank space in the history of Chinese art.
The Song and Yuan dynasties saw rapid development of Chi- nese porcelain. Apart from the government-run porcelain kilns, pri- vately-run kilns began to emerge to form a system of eight different porcelain kilns, among which the Yaozhou kilns at Tongchuan, Shaanxi province are representative of the celadon vessels in the northern part of China. They became most prosperous in the Song Dynasty.
Among the exhibits, the Song porcelain vessels offer visitors a new and fresh impression. On display here are pots, jars, trays of tea utensils, boxes, bowls and so on. Most of the glaze colours are blue, some dark reddish brown. The dominant designs twining branches peony, flying cranes, flying phoenixes, fish and ducks, etc, are also employed. Their high technology and simple unsophis- ticated modellings are so attractive and enchanting.
Religion was an important part in the life of the ancient soci- ety. From the Song Dynasty onwards, the carving of Buddhist stat- ues and construction of grottoes in Northern Shaanxi became popu- lar. The Buddhist statues on display here are unearthed from the scattered grottoes in Northern Shaanxi.
The Prehistoric Age
the Zhou Dynasty (771--221 B. C. )
The Qin Dynasty (221--206 B. C. )
The Han Dynasty (206B. C. --220A. D. )
The Wei, Jin, South & North Dynasties (220--581 A. D. )
The Sui and Tang Dynasties (5817-907 A. D. )