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Shaanxi Provincial History Museum
The Wei Jin South & North Dynasties

The dynasties of Wei, Jin, South & North existed from 220 A.D. to 581 A. D. , during which reign, there were great social up- heavals and great intermingling of various nationalities. This was a period of frequent dynastic changes, when several regimes co-exist- ed. Cultural relics of these turbulent years feature strong military influences and regional characteristics.

These are cahraps. No matter how you hurl or arrange them, they will always fall to the ground on three of their studs, with the fourth one pointing upwards. It is an effective weapon that deals with cavalry. It is said that this caltrap was invented by Zhu Geliang, the Prime Minister and a great strategist of the Sbu State.

During the Sixteen States Period, a number of successive mi- nority nationality regimes, such as Former Zhao, Former Qin, Lat- er Qin and Daxia established authority in Shaanxi. This is a picture of Tongwan City, the capital of Daxia, the Hun nationality, which is located in Jingbian County, Northern Shaanxi. Tongwan City is as strong and firm as stone and looks as splendid as ever. It remains one of China's best-preserved castle cities.

In the display case are the armoured soldiers and horses, which were the earliest ones discovered in China. Armour was introduced into China from Persia. They became very common by the time of Northern Wei.

During the Wei, Jin, South and North dynasties, Shaanxi was the destination of migrants of various nationalities. Large quantities of pottery figurines of people of different postures and nationalities prove effectively the union of different nationalities. From this "Evolution Chart of Minority Nationality Family Names", we can see the origin of many of the family names today. In fact, ethnic origins of many of today's Han family names in Shaanxi can be traced back to the minority nationalities.

Tomb guarding animals were divine beasts of prey placed inside tombs to fend off evil spirits and ensure the tranquillity of the soul of the dead. These two tomb guardians have the face of a man and the body of a beast, featuring an artistic style similar to that of the Sphinx in Egypt. This means that such semi-human and semi-beast objects reflect a common mythological conception shared by both the East and the West.

Religion-related artistic works were one of the most character- istic forms of the Wei, Jin, South and North dynasties. Buddhism was brought into China during the Han Dynasty, and was enthusi- astically promoted and encouraged by various minority nationality regimes during this time. People who had suffered greatly from the unceasing wars and upheavals wished to seek some kind of relief by worshiping gods and Buddhas. Therefore, both Buddhism and Bud- dhist statues is a major form of Buddhist art. The statues were made of a number of materials such as gold, silver, bronze and jade, etc. Among many of the Buddhist statues on display, this one made of iron is the most eye-catching. This statue of Buddha is said to have been modelled on Yang Jian, Emperor Wen Di of the Sui Dynasty. Yang Jian was born is a Buddhist nunnery, and was brought up by the nuns. He was devout and fanatic of Buddhism. He posed as the embodiment of a Buddha in order to tell people that he was acting the orders of the Buddha to become the emperor rul- ing the whole nation. Under the influence and support of Sui Wen- di, Buddhism reached its zenith in the Sui and Tang dynasties.

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 Sui and Tang Dynasties (5817-907 A. D. )

The Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties (960--1840 A. D. )

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