Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hubei Provincial Museum

Wuhan is in the Hubei Province of China. During my stay, there were a few days were I had the opportunity to be a tourist. On one of those days, I visited the Hubei Provincial Museum.

Hubei Museum on Blue Sky

It is one of the best known museums in China with over 200,000 ancient cultural relics. I only digitally captured about 100 of those remnants.

One of the exhibits features artifacts from the tomb of Marquis Yi dated around 433 BC. Yi was the ruler of Zeng during a part of the Warring State Period (476 BC - 221 BC). The tomb was discovered in 1977 in Hubei when the People's Liberation Army was destroying a hill to build a factory.

The tomb was constructed of large wooden timbers and divided into four chambers for a total area of about 2400 square feet. The smallest chamber contained military artifacts. Another chamber contained the tomb of King Yi and 8 tombs of young women. A third chamber contained 13 more tombs of young women. The largest chamber contained the most famous discovery of the tomb, a set of 64 bianzhong or bronze bells along with stone chimes, flutes and various string instruments. Weapons, women and song: modern man hasn't evolved much compared to 2400 years ago.

We were treated to a bianzhong concert using replicas of the original instruments that were on display in the museum. The zhong bells have a special oblong shape which produces two tones depending on where they are struck. The bells can play a complete 12 tone scale, predating the development of the European 12 tone system by about 2000 years.

I walked away from the museum have a greater appreciation of Chinese culture. If your perspective of China is one of a developing country, bear in mind that they have had thousands of years of trial and error experience.

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