New hall at Yin Ruins Museum to display 4,000 Shang cultural relics
Published: Feb 19, 2024 10:51 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Yin Ruins Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Yin Ruins Museum

A new museum hall at the Yin Ruins, a World Heritage Site known as "the hometown of oracle bone inscriptions," is set to open in Anyang, Central China's Henan Province, on February 26. About 4,000 cultural relics will be displayed to showcase the long history of China's Shang Dynasty (c.1600BC-1046BC) culture, officials from the National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) announced at a press conference on Monday.

Gao Yong, mayor of Anyang, said at the press conference that more than three-quarters of the precious artifacts are on display for the first time and include bronzes, pottery, jade wares, and oracle bones.

Focused on Shang Dynasty history and culture, the museum will showcase four major thematic exhibitions and one immersive digital exhibition. 

The exhibitions in the new hall are not only a systematic overview and powerful presentation of the research results of Yin Ruins archaeology and Shang civilization, but also a new starting point for the protection and utilization of the Yin Ruins in the new era, which is of great significance for linking the past and the future, according to Gao.

Photo: Courtesy of Yin Ruins Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Yin Ruins Museum

Yin Ruins are home to the archaeological remnants of the ancient city of Yin, the last capital of the Shang Dynasty. It was added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 2006. The oracle bone inscriptions discovered within the ruins are the oldest known Chinese script.

Yan Yalin, director of the archaeology department of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, said that the Yin Ruins, a spiritual symbol of the Chinese nation, are the first documented capital site of the late Shang Dynasty, as confirmed by archaeological excavations and oracle bone inscriptions. Hailed as the cradle of modern Chinese archaeology, the site has seen the highest frequency and longest duration for archaeological excavations among all the ancient capitals in China.

In recent years, the NCHA has coordinated domestic archaeological efforts to advance research on the layout of the Yin Ruins, further clarifying the relationship between the site and its surrounding settlements, yielding fruitful results from interdisciplinary cooperation and technological archaeological research.

Photo: Courtesy of Yin Ruins Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Yin Ruins Museum

Zhao Qingrong, deputy curator at the Yin Ruins Museum, told the Global Times on Monday that the construction of the new hall received strong support from many other museums in the world including the Freer Gallery of Art in the US, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, the British Museum, and the Sen-Oku Hakukokan Museum in Japan, all of which "generously provided relevant materials for the exhibition about the Yin Ruins cultural relics."

Meanwhile, a lot of professors overseas provided excellent suggestions for the content and design of the exhibition.

Keith Wilson, curator of Ancient Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art in the US, said that the new hall will not only attract more attention but also stimulate more visitor interest in the Yin Ruins. 

According to the NCHA, booking for visits to the new hall will open at 8 am on February 22. Visitors can make reservations in advance through the official WeChat account of the Yin Ruins Museum and its official website.