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Gansu Provincial Museum

The Gansu Museum which covers an area of more than 100 mu (about 16.5 acres) is located in Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu, and stores a vast collection of historical, ethical and revolutionary cultural relics.

The most precious cultural relics in the museum are the replicas of Bronze Galloping Horse and Stegodon Fossils, the original of which are respectively stored in the National Palace Museum (also known as the Forbidden City) and the Beijing Natural History Museum. The Bronze Galloping Horse is also named the 'Horse Stepping on Flying Swallow' and represents the typical Chinese traditional bronze vessels of the Eastern Han Dynasty(25-220). The sculpture is depicted by a galloping horse of 34.5 cm (about 1.1 feet) tall with three legs spread out, leaving one leg stepping on a flying swallow. Faced with this sculpture, we could imagine that the horse is running so fast that it steps on a flying swallow-which then leads one to think out loud: 'How could a horse run so fast, unless it is a heavenly horse?' We could then tell from the expression of the swallow, as it turns around to stare at the galloping horse. The heavenly horse seems to be strong and vigorous, and through this work, the artists want to present a bold, generous and adventurous spirit.

Another cultural relic known as the Stegodon Fossils is preserved in Beijing Natural History Museum. We can see the replica of this work in the Gansu Provincial Museum. It is 4 meters (about 13 feet) tall, 8 meters (about 26 feet) in length and the fore-tooth is 3 meters (about 9.8 feet) long. The relic is said to be the biggest and most well-preserved fossil in the world and could only be found in Africa and Asia. Scientists who studied the Stegodon Fossils concluded that the specimen found in the Yellow River in Gansu Province is the fossils of a male elephant that lived in 2,500,000 years ago. Such an archaeological finding offers valuable information to the scientists for their study on the landform, species and climate of Loess Altiplano.

Another highlight in the Gansu Provincial Museum must be the Frescoes of the Wei and Jin (265-420) Graves. More than 600 frescoes are well preserved in the museum reflecting extensive life subjects such as the farming scene, hunting, gardening, cooking, playing chess, camping and the banquet scene. Among these 6 are the grave frescoes which tell us how luxurious the owner of the tumulus was.

Besides the relics mentioned above, the revolutionary cultural relics are also worth seeing. They are the relics left in the Long March (1934~1936) period in China, which tells us the important political events that happened in Gansu during that period. The relics represent the epitome of Chinese history from 1934 to 1936.

In the museum, there are also some other cultural relics to show such as ancient painted pottery, bamboo slips of the Han Dynasty and the Buddhist statue. The focus must surely be the cultural relics along the Silk Road in the Han and Tang (618-907) Dynasty including jewelry, glassware, the silk production and the Buddhist Sculpture. These are definitely worth a visit.

Admission Fee:
CNY 35
Opening Time:
09:00-11:30, 14:30-17:30 (Tue.-Sat.)
Bus Route:
1,31, 32, 41, 50, 51, 53, 58