Pictures of Beijing National Museum

(Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use)
If you would like to purchase the original, high-resolution pictures, contact me


Eagle-shaped pottery vessel - Yangshao Culture (5000-3000 BC)

Majiayao Culture (3200-2000 BC)

Bone spade - Hemudu Culture (5200-4200 BC)

Vessels - Dawenkou Culture (4200-2500 BC)


Hemudu Culture

Yangshao Culture

Keshengzhuang Culture (2500-2000 BC)

Yangshao Culture and Sanliqiao Culture (2500-2000 BC)


Longshan Culture (2500-2000 BC)

Bottle of Yangshao Culture (5000-3000 BC) and jar of Xinle Culture (5300-4800 BC)

Yangshao Culture

Qujialing Culture (3000-2500 BC)


Dawenkou Culture (abstract design) and Yangshao Culture (fish and bird design)

Yangshao Culture

Daxi Culture (4200-3000 BC)

Yangshao Culture


Majiayao Culture (3200-2000 BC)

Jade from Liangzhu Culture (3300-2200 BC)

Yangshao Culture

Majiayao Culture


Western Zhou

Shang (16th-11th c BC)

Shang

Wine vessel - Shang


Wine vessel - Shang

Wine vessel - Shang

Shang

Shang


Triple bronze yan - Shang

Detail

Late Shang (14th-11th c BC)

Shang


Western Zhou

Late Shang

Shang

Middle Western Zhou


Shang

Shang

Western Zhou

Stone qing with tiger design (Late Shang)


Bronze zhong (Western Zhou)

Western Zhou

Western Zhou

Western Zhou


Western Zhou

Late Shang

Xindian Culture (1000 BC)

Western Zhou


Western Zhou

Xiandian Culture

Bronze nao with tiger design - Late Shang

Bronze head - Shang


Shang

Shang

Shang

Spring and Autumn Period of Qistate (770-403 BC)


Warring States Period (403-221 BC) of Chu state

Spring and Autumn

Spring and Autumn

Warring States


Warring States

Warring States

Spring and Autumn

same object


Spring and Autumn

same object

Warring States

Cai Hou Shen - Spring and Autumn


"Zeng Zhong Youfu" - Spring and Autumn

Bronze bingjian - Warring States

Bronze bingjian - Warring States

Bronze bingjian - Warring States


Eastern Han (25-220 AD)

Eastern Han (25-220 AD)

Eastern Han (25-220 AD)

Eastern Han (25-220 AD)


Eastern Han (25-220 AD)

Eastern Han (25-220 AD)

Bronze lamp - Western Han (202BC-8AD)

Bronze lamp - Western Han (202BC-8AD)


Western Han (202BC-8AD)

Western Han

Eastern Han

Eastern Han


Eastern Han

Eastern Han

Eastern Han

Eastern Han


Eastern Han

Brick relief - Eastern Han

Brick relief - Eastern Han

Eastern Han


Eastern Han

Eastern Han

Eastern Han

Eastern Han


Eastern Han

Brick relief of acrobats - Han (202 BC - 220 AD)

Brick relief of entertainers - Eastern Han (25-220 AD)

Eastern Han


Eastern Han

Stone carving of acupuncture - Eastern Han

Eastern Han

Eastern Han


Western Han (202 BC - 8 AD)

Western Han

Western Han

Western Han


Western Han

Northern Wei (386-534)

Northern Wei (386-534)

Northern Wei (386-534)


Celadon hunping - Western Jin (265-316 AD)

Celadon hunping - Western Jin (265-316 AD)

Celadon hunping - Western Jin (265-316 AD)

Celadon zun -Northern dynasties (386-581 AD)


Sarcophagus - Northern dynasties

Sarcophagus - Northern dynasties

Three Kingdoms, Wu (222-280 AD)

Three Kingdoms, Wu (222-280 AD)


Western Wei (535-556 AD)

Three Kingdoms, Shu (221-263 AD)

Three Kingdoms, Shu (221-263 AD)

Three Kingdoms, Wu


Northern Qi (550-577 AD)

Northern Qi (550-577 AD)

Three Kingdoms, Wu


Daoist saints - Northern Wei (527)

ditto

Panels of Zhaoling (emperor Taizong's mausoleum)

ditto


Brick reliefs of Southern dynasties (420-589 AD)

Brick reliefs of Southern dynasties (420-589 AD)

Brick reliefs of Southern dynasties (420-589 AD)


Tang dynasty (723 AD)

same object

Tang Dynasty (664 AD)


Murals of Li Shuang's tomb (668 AD)

Murals of Li Shuang's tomb (668 AD)

Panel from Anji briddge, Sui dynasty (581-618 AD)

Mural of Yide's tomb


Bodhisattva - Tang dynasty

Warriors - Tang

Tang dynasty

Tang dynasty


Bodhisattva (Song dynasty)

Bodhisattva (Song dynasty)

Bodhisattva (Song dynasty)

Jin dynasty (1115-1234)


Su Song's astronomy book (11th c)

Qin Jiushao's mathematical treatise (13th c)

Medical book printed in 1523

Code of the Great Ming (printed in 1397)


Song dynasty (960-1279)

Song dynasty (960-1279)

Song dynasty (960-1279)

Song dynasty (960-1279)


Tibetan Art from 14th-17th c

Tibet 14th-17th c

Tibet 14th-17th c


Tibetan Art from 17th-19th c

Tibet 17th-19th c

Tibet 17th-19th c

Tibet 17th-19th c


Tibet 17th-19th c

Tibet 17th-19th c

Tibet 17th-19th c

Tibet 17th-19th c


Tibet 17th-19th c

Tibet 17th-19th c

Tibet 17th-19th c

Tibet 18th c


Liangzhu culture (3300-2300 BC)

Stone chime with bird (Shang 16th-11th c BC) from Anyang (Henan). During the Xia and Shang period, jade-working tools made of bronze were invented. This led to the production of jades with carved designs that make up over 80% of the total jade output of this period. These exquisitely crafted jade artifacts show a strong focus on artistic expression, as represented by lifelike figurines, bas-relief animal plaques depicted in side silhouettes, and double-incised-line carvings. These jade carvings convey an abundance of social information about production, clothing, religion, rituals, rites, and music.


Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Henan

Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Henan

Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Henan

Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Henan


Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Anyang

Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Anyang

Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Henan

Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Henan


Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Anyang

Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Henan

Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Henan


Shang from Sichuan (16th-11th c BC)

Shang from Hunan (14th-11th c BC)

Shang from Hunan (14th-11th c BC)


Bronze mask of Shang from Sichuan (16th-11th c BC)

Bronze mask of Shang from Sichuan (16th-11th c BC)


Bronze mask of Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Sichuan

Bronze mask of Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Sichuan

Bronze mask of Shang (16th-11th c BC) from Sichuan


Xindian culture from Gansu (1000 BC)

Xindian culture from Gansu (1000 BC)

Xindian culture from Gansu (1000 BC)


Early Western Zhou from Sichuan

Early Western Zhou from Sichuan

Early Western Zhou from Liaoning

Western Zhou from Shaanxi (11th c - 771 BC)


Middle Western Zhou from Shaanxi

Middle Western Zhou from Shaanxi

Late Western Zhou


Spring and Autumn (770-403 BC) from Henan

Spring and Autumn (770-403 BC) of Wu state from Henan

Spring and Autumn (770-403 BC) from Wu state

Spring and Autumn (770-403 BC) from Wu state


Spring and Autumn (770-403 BC) of Wu state from Henan

Spring and Autumn Period of Zeng state from Hubei

Spring and Autumn Period of Zeng state from Hubei


Spring and Autumn Period of Cai state from Anhui

Spring and Autumn Period of Cai state from Anhui

Spring and Autumn Period of Cai state from Anhui

Spring and Autumn Period of Zheng state from Henan


Spring and Autumn Period of Jin state from Shanxi

Spring and Autumn Period of Jin state from Shanxi

Spring and Autumn Period (770-403 BC) from Hunan


Warring States Period (403-221 BC) of Chu state from Anhui

Warring State Period of Zeng state from Hubei

Warring State Period of Zeng state from Hubei

Warring States Period of Zeng State from Hubei


Warring States Period of Zeng State from Hubei

Warring State Period of Qi state from Shandong

Bronze zhong (musical instruments) from Warring States Period, Chu state (403-221 BC)

Stone qing (musical instruments) from Warring States Period, Wei state (403-221 BC)


Inlaid gold stem-branch calculator (Warring States 475-221 BC). This is an ancient instrument for stem-branch calculation, divination and day-counting. There is a knob at the top and a total of 12 facets around the instrument, each with a small hole at the top. This piece is divided into two parts. The upper part bears the earthly stem terms, and the lower part bears the heavenly branch terms, both written in a backward order. When in use, the knob is pushed downward, and the two parts are turned around to align the stem-branch terms to the day of concern. A dowel is inserted into the top hole to secure it.

Inlaid gold stem-branch calculator (Warring States 475-221 BC)


Inscribed Stone Tablet from Langya Qin Dynasty, 28th year of Emperor Qinshihuang's reign (219 BC). After annexing the six states, Emperor Oinshihuang made five inspection tours across the country and stone tablets were inscribed to eulogize his contribution to unifying China. This fragment of stone with an inscription was made when the emperor visited Langya Prefecture (Shandong Province).

ditto, Qin (219 BC)


Terracotta infantry, Western Han (202 BC - 8 AD) from Shaanxi

Terracotta infantry, Western Han (202 BC - 8 AD) from Shaanxi

Terracotta infantry, Western Han (202 BC - 8 AD) from Shaanxi

Jade shroud from tomb 40 at Bajiaolang/ Dingxian (Hebei), Western Han (202 BC - 8 AD)


Jade shroud from tomb 40 at Bajiaolang/ Dingxian (Hebei), Western Han (202 BC - 8 AD)

Jade shroud from tomb 40 at Bajiaolang/ Dingxian (Hebei), Western Han (202 BC - 8 AD)


Green-glazed Pottery Tower, Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) from Henan: guardians holding crossbows on the tower and cavalrymen patrolling (private army of landlords)

ditto, Han


Pottery fort, Eastern Han, from Guangdong

Pottery buqu soldier, Eastern Han, from Sichuan

Pottery buqu soldier, Eastern Han, from Sichuan


Painted bronze lamp, Western Han, from Shanxi

Pottery stove, Eastern Han (25-220AD) from Guangdong

Pottery cooking and serving figures, Eastern Han (25-220 AD) from Chongqing


Green-glazed pottery water pavilion, Eastern Han, from Shaanxi

Pottery cart, Eastern Han, from Sichuan

Pottery boat, Eastern Han, from Guangdong


Green-glazed pottery tower, Eastern Han, from Shandong

Green-glazed pottery tower, Eastern Han, from Shandong

Green-glazed pottery tower, Eastern Han, from Shandong

Green-glazed pottery tower, Eastern Han, from Shandong


Green-glazed pottery water pavilion, Eastern Han, from Shaanxi

Green-glazed pottery water pavilion, Eastern Han, from Shaanxi

Brick relief, Eastern Han, from Sichuan


Brick relief with acrobats, Han (202BC - 220 AD) from Henan

Brick relief with acrobats, Han (202BC - 220 AD) from Henan

Bronze cowrie container, Western Han (202BC-8AD), from Yunnan

Bronze cowrie container, Western Han (202BC-8AD), from Yunnan


Stone tianlu (beast), Eastern Han, from Luoyang (Henan)

Stone carving of acupuncture, Eastern Han, from Shandong

Stone carving of acupuncture, Eastern Han, from Shandong

Bronze cowrie container, Western Han, from Yunnan


Bronze cowrie container (Western Han 202BC-8AD) from Jinning (Yunnan). This container is for storing money cowries. The lid is decorated with a total of 18 human figures, including slave women weaving with backstrap looms, which is the most eye-catching scene. They sit on the ground, tie looms to their waists with belts, hold the warp beams with their feet, where the warp is stretched between feet and waist of the weaver, which vividly reflects the use of simple backstrap loom on textile production in Yunnan province at that time.

ditto

Block-printed edition of Jia Sixie's "Essential Techniques for the Peasantry" (Northern Wei, 386-534). "Qi Min Yao Shu/ Essential Techniques for the Peasantry" was first produced from 533 CE to 544 CE. It was the first completely preserved agricultural encyclopedia of all ancient Chinese agricultural texts. The ten volumes of the book respectively cover the cultivation of various crops, the raising of livestock and poultry, the processing of agricultural products and sideline production. It systematically summarizes the rich experience of agricultural production that took place in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. The book records ploughing and grain cultivation methods for dry land, pear tree grafting technology, sapling propagation, gonadectomy in livestock and poultry, and documentation of processing food; shows an extraordinary level of China s agricultural production at that time.


Pottery figures, Sixteen Kingdoms (304-439 AD) from Shaanxi

Pottery figures, Sixteen Kingdoms (304-439 AD) from Shaanxi

Pottery figures, Sixteen Kingdoms (304-439 AD) from Shaanxi

Pottery figures, Sixteen Kingdoms (304-439 AD) from Shaanxi


Pottery figures, Western Jin (265-316 AD) from Hunan

Pottery figures, Western Jin (265-316 AD) from Hunan


Celadon hunping, Western Jin (265-316AD)

Celadon hunping, Western Jin (265-316AD)

Celadon Hunping (soul jar), Western Jin Dynasty (265-316 AD): Hunping was a popular burial object in the Wu Kingdom and the Wester Jin Dynasty. This elaborate hunping was complicated to make and required skills in appliqu , pinching, stamping, and carving.


Pottery figure, Sui (581-618AD), from Wuhan (Hubei)

Stone Relief Panels of Zhaoling (reproduction). Zhaoling is the mausoleum of Emperor Taizong, located in Shaanxi Province. To commemorate his contribution to founding the Tang dynasty, Taizong ordered that his six battle steeds be carved in stone panels and placed in the tomb. Two panels were stolen and shipped oversens in the early 20th century. The other four are now in the Xi an Beilin (Stele Forest) Museum.

Zhaoling reliefs

Zhaoling reliefs


Mural (copy) from Tang tomb of Prince Yide at Qianxian (Shaanxi)

Mural (copy) from Tang tomb of Prince Zhanghuai at Qianxian (Shaanxi)

Sancai-glazed pottery musicians on camelback, Tang (723AD) from tomb of Xianyu Lian at Xian

Sancai-glazed pottery Hu figure, Tang (723 AD), from Xian


Pottery dancers, Southern Tang (943 AD), from Nanjing

Mural, Tang (668 AD) from tomb of Li Shuang at Xian

Sancai-glazed pottery horse, Tang (618-907 AD), from Luoyang

Gilted stone warriors, Tang (740AD), from tomb of Yang Sixu at Xian


Gilted Bronze Avalokitesvara, Wuyue kingdom (893-978 AD), from Wanfo Pagoda at Jinhua (Zhejinag)

Gilted Bronze Avalokitesvara, Wuyue kingdom (893-978 AD), from Wanfo Pagoda at Jinhua (Zhejinag)

Sakyamuni pagoda (model) at Fogong Temple in Yingxian (Shanxi)


Stone carvings of maids, Song (960-1279)

Wooden avalokitesvara, Song (960-1279)

Wooden avalokitesvara, Song (960-1279)

Wooden avalokitesvara, Song (960-1279)


Stone carving of servants, Song

Bronze Figure Model for Acupuncture and Moxibustion. During the Tiansheng Tera (1023-1032) in the Northern Song Dynasty, a medical official named Wang Weiyi made two bronze figures marked with meridians and acupoints and wrote the "Ilustrated Manual about Acupoints Indicated on Recently Cast Bronze Figures". In the imperial medical academy's exams, such figures were coated with beeswax and filled with water for students to identify the right acupoints.

ditto


Water-powered astronomical clocktower (model) based on "Essentials of New Design for the Srmillary Sphere and Celestial Globe"

Water-powered astronomical clocktower (model) based on "Essentials of New Design for the Srmillary Sphere and Celestial Globe"


First Flying Horse brand 20-bit Tandem computer manufactured by Shanghai Professional Machinery and Steel Factory

Beijing TV set type 820 (1958)

Beijing TV set type 820 (1958)


Mantras of Dharani Sutra (Tang 618-907) from the Tang Dynasty Tomb at Wangyjiang Pavilion in Longchifang, Chengdu, Sichuan. This sutra is printed on silkworm paper and was found in the silver bracelet of the tomb owner. A line of Chinese characters on it shows that it was a commodity printed and sold by a merchant with the surname of Bian, indicating that in the late 8th century, privately run book printing shops had appeared in China.

"Collection of Du of the Ministry of Works" (1834) is a collection of works by Du Fu, a famous poet in the Tang dynasty. This book is a six-color overprint version that engraved by Lu Kun in 1834. The main text is in black ink, while the headnote, annotation, punctuation and other parts are in purple, green, yellow, blue, red and other colors respectively, which is quite reader friendly. The whole book is printed and bound with exquisite workmanship, and it was the most colorful overprint book in ancient China. In the era of manuscripts, some people wrote scriptures and titles in vermilion and ink, and painted illustrations in several colors, making the finished book both eye- catching and casy to read. After the invention of printing, people began to experiment with the method of overprinting in two colors of vermilion and ink to make up for the shortage of monochrome printing, which later developed to multi-color overprinting. After the Wanli reign of the Ming dynasty, chromatic printing was widely used.


During the Qingli reign of the Song dynasty (1041-104), Bi Sheng invented a movable type printing technique described as follows. Small rectangular cylinders are made of clay, engraved with reversed characters in relief at one end, and then calcined to make them hardened to create clay movable types for printing. When printing, a layer of mixed rosin, wax and paper ash is spread on an iron plate with a lower border, and then the clay movable types are arranged on it according to the content of the article. When a plate is filled, the bottom of the iron plate is baked with fire. and then the printing can be carried out after the mixture is cooled and solidified. After printing, the iron plate is heated to soften the mixture, and the clay movable type is removed for reuse. The invention of clay movable type printing ushered in a new era of printing.

"Auspicious Tantra of All-Reaching Union" (1038-1227). Buddhist scripture printed in Tangut script, and is one of the earliest wooden movable type prints. Unlike woodblock printing, wodden movable type printing is characterized by the different sizes of fonts, different thicknesses of strokes and different shades of ink.


Bronze compass (Yuan 1271-1368)

Stone relief, Yuan (13th-14th c) from Huapichang (Beijing)

Revolving table typecase. In the early years of the Yuan dynasty, the agronomist Wang Zhen designed and invented the revolving table typecase, which was used to arrange movable types and improve typesetting speed. The typecase is disc-shaped, divided into several grids, and the movable types are arranged primarily by rhyming scheme in the grids. There is a vertical shaft support below that s fixed onto the base. The typesetting requires two people to work together. One man reads the manuscript to another who would fetch the type. After printing, the types should be put back to the grid one by one.


Revolving table typecase (Yuan dynasty)

Revolving table typecase (Yuan dynasty)


The abridged armilla was invented by Yuan dynasty astronomer Guo Shoujing. It was named abridged because it simplified the complex armillary sphere in the Tang und Song dynasties. Traditional Chinese armillary spheres had many rings, which tended to obscure each other's celestial areas and were not convenient to operate. It was also technically difficult to install so many concentric rings. The abridged armilla retains the most basic rings and installs them in two scparate groups. It replaces the traditional sighting tube with a sighting bar, a sliver of copper with a string on cach end. During observation, the two strings will be on the same level with the celestial body to improve the accuracy of the instrument. 300 years later, the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe adopted a similar device in Europe.

Design for a Mechanized Armillary Sphere and Celestial Globe (1937 edition of Northern Song original). The water-driven astronomical clock-tower was a large comprehensive astronomical instrument created by Northern Song dynasty astronomer Su Song and astronomical instrument maker Han Gonglian in 1092. The tower is 12 meters high and has three layers. On the upper layer is an armillary sphere for tracking positions of celestial bodies, on the middle layer is a celestial globe to show the feature of the starry sky and on the lower layer is a timekeeping system and the power mechanism of the entire instrument. Powered by the flowing water in a clepsydra and through complex gearing and the control by a set of levers similar to the escapements of modern clocks, this instrument allows the armillary sphere, celestial globe and timekeeping system to automatically synchronize with the diurnal motion of the celestial body. This was the world s earliest chronometer. It was based on the tower Structure and star charts that Su Song wrote Xin Yi Xiang Fa Yao (New Design for an Armillary Sphere and Celestial Globe), three volumes in total.

ditto

Block-printed edition of "Book of Agriculture" (1895 from the original Yuan 13th-14th c). The 37-volume Nong Shu (Book of Agriculture) was written by Yuan dynasty agronomist Wang Zhen from 1295 to 1300 when he served as a magistrate of Jingde and Yongfeng counties. The book promotes the cultivation of mulberry, cotton, hemp and other cash crops and the improvement of agricultural tools.


Ivory compass (Ming 1368-1644). Compass was used for fengshui (an ancient Chinese art of arranging buildings, objects, and space in an environment to achieve harmony and balance) evaluation in ancient history. This compass is made of ivory with 28 lunar mansions marked on its surface. In early Chinese history, people divided stars near the ecliptic into 28 groups according to the paths and positions of the sun, the moon, and the stars, known as the Twenty-Eight Mansions, and used them as a reference for observing celestial phenomena. The Twenty-Eight Mansions are classified under Four Images representing the east, the south, the west, and the north. The classification and application of the Twenty-Eight Mansions is a major achievement of ancient Chinise astronomy.

Ivory compass (Ming 1368-1644)

Ivory latitude-adjustable sundial and moondial (Ming). During the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, sundials and lunar dials, popular in the West, were introduced to China. They were mostly in horizontal style. The dial plate was parallel to the ground, with the angle between the pointer and the dial plate that equivalent to the geographic latitude of the location. An unevenly-graduated line divided a day into 24 hours and then further into 96 quarters. They were small in sizes and easy to carry. When western sundials were introduced into China, Chinese people started to make dials themseives. Production mostly took place in southern China, particularly in Xiuning, Anhui province, and Guangzhou. Most of them are in portable horizontal style. While adopting the method of 96 quarters in a day, it is also marked with Chinese timekeeping names. The style will not be often changed, but focus on decorative techniques.


Block-printed edition of Fan Ye's "History of the Later Han" (printed in Ming era, original from Southern kingdom 420-589). Chinese silk had already spread to the Roman Empire in the Han dynasty, and Biography of Western Regions in History of the Later Han records that 2 Daqin (Roman Empire) purchased silk from China through Anxi (Parthian Empire) and Tianzhu (Ancient India), and mentions that Daqin intended to open up a marine silk trade route directly to China. It is the first piece of ancient Chinese literature to record land and marine silk roads. :


"Chu Ci/ Songs of Chu", block printed (Ming Dynasty)

"Ling Shu and Su Wen", block printed (Ming Dynasty)

"Guan Zi/ Book of Guanzi" block printed (Ming)

"Guan Zi/ Book of Guanzi" block printed (Ming)


Wucai (polychrome) porcelain jar, Ming (1522-1566)

Phoenix crown for empress Xiaoduan, Ming (1573-1620)

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(Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use)
If you would like to purchase the original, high-resolution pictures, contact me