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Jinsha Site Musuem

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Jinsha Site Musuem Introduction

Following the discovery of Sanxingdui Site, another significant site of the Bronze Age was found in Chengdu Plain, namely Jinsha Site. According to various researches, it is considered that, after the decline of Sanxingdui Civilization, Jinsha Site was another capital and also another political, economic and cultural center of the ancient Shu Kingdom which emerged in Chengdu from the late Shang Dynasty to the Western Zhou Dynasty. It has a close inherent relationship with Sanxingdui Culture. Although likely to emerge at the end of the culture, it proves that the ancient Shu Kingdom at that time was not "ignorant of words, rites and music" but was a very advanced civilization place of the Shang and Zhou civilization.

Jinsha Site Musuem

Jinsha Site is located between the Second Ring Road and the Third Ring Road in the west of Chengdu, about 5km away from the center of Chengdu. Early around 1995, a small number of relics of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties were discovered here. At the beginning of 2001, the constructors of a real estate development company discovered a large number of artifacts of jade, stone, bronze and ivory in Jinsha Village of Qingyang District, and Chengdu Cultural Relics Research Institute immediately conducted a careful investigation on the site and developed the first large-scale archaeological excavation on the next day. Through this excavation covering an area up to over 70,000 square meters, a variety of cultural relics were unearthed, including over 2000 sites such as house sites, ash pits, tombs and kiln sites, etc, over 4000 artifacts of gold, bronze, jade and stone, etc, hundreds of ivories as well as a large number of pottery wares and pottery shards.

Jinsha Site Musuem

After another several excavations later, the whole Jinsha site buried under the ground for up to one thousand years gradually became visible. Currently the explored area is up to about 5 square kilometers. The site is located in a slightly undulating terrain distributing in blocky forms, with the northwest part higher than the southeast part. It can be clearly seen that it used to be a large center site of ancient Shu culture and was likely to be the capital of the ancient Shu Kingdom from the late Shang Dynasty to the Western Zhou Dynasty. In addition to the religious sacrificial activity area which is taken as the center, this ancient capital also has large-scale building areas, general residential areas and tombs. Most of the thousands of unearthed cultural relics belong to the late Shang Dynasty and the West Zhou Dynasty, while only a small part belong to the Spring and Autumn period. Although there is no city wall in Jinsha Site, a number of ancient artifacts here are extremely similar to those unearthed in Pit 1 and Pit 2 of Guanghan Sanxingdui Site. The archaeologists deduce that Jinsha Site is an ancient civilization site closely related to Sanxingdui Site and existing later than Sanxingdui Site and the ancient Shu Kingdom was likely to experience a geographical transfer at the end of Sanxingdui Culture.

Jinsha Site Musuem

To protect this site of ancient civilization, a large museum was constructed on this site in 2007 with a total area of 300,000 square meters, mainly reflecting the design concepts of "Remains" and "Unknown". It consists of Relics Hall, Exhibition Hall, Cultural Heritage Protection Center, Ecological Garden and Visitor Reception Center, among which the Relics Hall and Exhibition Hall are the key display areas. The former is a near-circular sloping building of steel structure located in the sacrificial area which completely protects the large sacrificial relic sites of Jingsha Site, while the latter is a broad and tall four-storey space which exhibits various precious cultural relics of Jinsha Site in a centralized way.

Jinsha Site Musuem

Among those precious cultural relics, there are dozens of gold artifacts including gold masks, gold belts, round gold ornaments and horn-shape gold ornaments, etc, among which the most representative one is the golden sun bird. With the outer diameter of 12.5cm and the inner diameter of 5.29cm, this bird is made of the gold foil which is 0.02cm thick, and its round pattern adopts hollow design with dynamic lines. The external pattern is composed of four birds flying around a rotating sun which gives off 12 rays of lights, with the head of one bird connected to the feet of another. On the corresponding internal side, there are also 12 rays of toothed lights. It is called "Four Birds Flying around one Sun". With the multiple morals of "Pursuit of Brightness, Forging Ahead in Unity, Harmony and Tolerance, Nature and Man in One", it was determined as the symbol of Chinese cultural heritage by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage in August, 2005.

Jinsha Site Musuem

The jade wares include jade cong, jade bi, jade tablets, jade dagger-axes, jade spears, jade axes, jade chisels, jade bracelets, jade rings and jade beads, etc, among which the largest one is the cylinder jade cong that is 22.2cm tall and is square outside and round inside. This jade cong is divided to 10 sections, with each having the typical human-face design of late Liangzhu Culture. It is carved with a human-shape symbol at the top end, with a long hat on the head, two arms holding flat, two legs straddling and featherlike pattern on the sleeves. Another jade statue, only 2.3cm tall and wholly green, has long eyebrows, big eyes and wide mouth and looks quite ferocious, full of mystery and horror.

Jinsha Site Musuem

The bronze wares are mostly small artifacts, including bronze stature, bronze yuan, bronze dagger-axes and bronze bells, etc. Having a haggard face and two arms embracing in a half circle, the bronze statue is dressed in a short robe and a circular cap on the head, with 13 arc ray ornaments rotating along the cap edge in a counterclockwise direction. It looks like the golden sun bird and remains connected with the bronze statue unearthed in Sanxingdui Site, not only displaying rich ancient Shu cultural characteristics, but also undoubtedly illustrating that Jinsha Site has a close relationship with Sanxingdui Site.

Jinsha Site Musuem

In addition to such representative ancient relics as artifacts of gold, jade and bronze, Jinsha Site Museum holds a large number of other relics, such as ivories, bone artifacts, pottery wares and wood lacquer wares, etc. Possessing the ancient Shu style in the shape and design and showing up bold and rich imagination and strong shock, these relics reveal the glorious history of the ancient Shu Kingdom together with the numerous cultural relics unneutered in Sanxingdui Site. Lots of archaeologists consider that the ancient Shu culture reflected by Jinsha Site is a node of the diverse Chinese culture and world civilization and reveals the life and cultural state of the ancient Shu Kingdom thousands of years ago; The formation, development, prosperity and declination of the site provide more historical evidences for the ancient Shu Kingdom in that period.

Jinsha Site Musuem

Once available to the world in 2001, Jinsha Site aroused wide attention from all over the world with its numerous precious historical relics, old city sites and ancient civilization closely connected with Sanxingdui Site. In the same year, this site was listed among National Key Cultural Relics Protection Units and selected as one of the "China's Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries in 2001". Besides, Jinsha Site Museum was successfully rated as a National 4A Tourist Attraction soon after its construction.

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