The Shaanxi History Museum is located 4 kilometers south of Xi’an, with the Big Wild Goose Pagoda to the east. It was originally inside the Museum of Stone Tablets. Later, because of its great amount of relics and the small exhibition rooms in the Museum of Stone Tablets, which were not big enough to exhibit them, the Museum was moved to the present place. It was established under the personal concern of former Permier Zhou Enlai and officially opened to public in 1991.
The Museum is an architectural complex in the Tang Dynasty style, covering an area of 65,000 square meters and with a construction area of about 60,000 square meters. The whole museum was built in a closed style with modern management. It is the second largest museum next to the Imperial Palace Museum, which is the largest museum in China. In order to keep the relics safe, a set of closed facilities of prevention and auti-theft system has been installed. The closed circuit television system was installed to monitor every corner to the museum and a set of infrared detection system has been installed to control every square centimeter of the exhibition of the halls. In case when any anomalous event occurs, video copiers will truly get scenes recorded without delay.
The Shaanxi History Museum collects a largest amount of tomb frescoes of Tang Dynasty. For better protection and preservation of these rare relics, the store chambers were so designed that they were built on rails and enclosed on all sides, with constant temperature and moisture but without ultraviolet radiation. The mural paintings are hung in charmbers that run on rail. Press a button, the chambers will silde out and back gently. Such design is indeed ingenious.
It has a collection of 370,000 pieces of historical relics, among which the most characteristic ones are the bronze wares of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, the pottery figures of different dynasties, the tomb frescoes, gold and silver utensils. There are over 2,000 pieces of bronze wares in the museum. Quite a few of them are national-grade rare relics, such as a bronze tripot of solid built called "Wai Shu Ding" and a four legged bronze wine vessel of unique shape. They have brought much influence to the field of historical relics.
Pottery figure is a kind of important relic which left over to us from different dynasties in Chinese history. They have been discovered constantly all over China. But it is a rare case that the unearthed pottery figures in Shaanxi cover the dynasties from the Spring and Autumn Period down to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. We cannot help to acclaim them the acme of perfection for not only their large quantity but also their variation from dynasty to dynasty.
Ever since 1952, more than 1,000 square meters of Tang Dynasty tomb frescoes has been taken off completely in a special method. It has gained high admiration and fame for its quantity and excellence. Taking "Fresco of Foreign Diplomatic Envoys, Fresco of Polo Game on Horse-backs, Fresco of Maids of Honour" as an example, they are not only of very high art value, but also non-fungible data of historical documents for the study of social activities, cultural life and clothing customs of the Tang Dynasty.
The collection of gold and silver vessels from the Tang Dynasty in the museum totals up to over 900 pieces, which make it the topmost museum all over the country. Among them, the most well-known ones are the gold and silver wares unearthed from the pit at Hejia Village in Xi’an in 1970. Such as "the ox-headed agate cup" and "the imperial gilded pot with two punched horses attached", ect. were ingeniously designed and showed the ingenuity of the designers.
At the time when the museum was opened to public, more than 2,200 pieces of rare historical relics were requizited from other places throughout Shaanxi Province, which made the museum even more splendid and well-know. Those include the Gilded Bamboo Shaped Bronze Smother Stove unearthed from Maoling, the Bronze Swan-goose-and-fish Lamp unearthed in Shenmu, ect.
The magnificent of the architecture, first-class facilities, rich and colorful relics comprise the special characters of the Shaanxi History Museum. And it is attracting more and more visitors from both home and abroad in a completely new look.