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Shanxi Provincial Museum

shanxi provincial museumThe Shaanxi Provincial Museum is built at the site of a former Confucian temple in the southern part of Xian. It exhibits primarily historical relics of past dynasties and displays precious art treasures and stone carvings of the Han and Tang dynasties.

The first Han emperors built upon the foundations of the Qin and expanded their territory enormously. Unlike the Qin, however, they allowed the cultures of the new territories to remain intact and encouraged trade and commerce among the various parts of the empire.

One envoy reached India, but the ruling king of India thought it impractical to form a defensive alliance at such a distance. Instead, a multinational trade agreement emerged, for when the envoy returned to Xian with detailed reports of the western states, he was sent back with a large delegation and items to trade. Silk was an immediate hit. (Over time, silk exports reached as far as Rome, where it was a highly valued commodity.)

Walking through the exhibits in the Provincial Museum is like walking through the history of what came to be known as the Silk Road. First, there are items from the Xia (2200 B.C.-1700 B.C.) and then the Ming and Qing dynasties. The collection from the Han through the Tang (618 A.D.-907 A.D.) and Song (960 A.D.-1279 A.D.) dynasties shows the changes of art and craftsmanship.

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