Jump to content

The Birth of Chinese Civilization

  • Image of "Bronze Ornamental Plaque, Animal design with turquoise inlay,Excavated in 1984 from Tomb 11, Area VI, Erlitou, Yanshi, Xia dynasty,17th-16th century BC, H. 16.5cm, W. 11cm, Luoyang Museum"

    Bronze Ornamental Plaque, Animal design with turquoise inlay,
    Excavated in 1984 from Tomb 11, Area VI, Erlitou, Yanshi,
    Xia dynasty,17th-16th century BC,
    H. 16.5cm, W. 11cm,
    Luoyang Museum

    Japanese Archaeology and Special Exhibition (Heiseikan) Special Exhibition Galleries
    July 6, 2010 (Tue) - September 5, 2010 (Sun)

    Focusing on the many renowned artifacts excavated from China's Henan province, this exhibition explores the birth and development of Chinese civilization along the lines of three key themes: the birth of dynasties, the growth of technical artistry, and the pursuit of beauty.
    Henan province, situated on the banks of the Yellow River, has been home to dynastic capitals since ancient times. These include Anyang, capital of the Shang (Yin) dynasty; Luoyang, capital during the Later Han, Wei (Three Kingdoms period) and Northern Wei (Southern and Northern dynasties period) dynasties; and Kaifeng, capital of the Northern Song dynasty. As a central region in the history of Chinese civilization, Henan was the birthplace of many rare and valuable art objects demonstrating outstanding artistry, which continue to be treasured today as symbols of China's valuable cultural heritage.

 General Information
Period Tuesday, July 6-Sunday, September 5, 2010
Venue Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays until 18:00
Fridays until 20:00
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays (Except for Monday, July 19 and August 16) (Closed on Tuesday, July 20)
Admission Adults: 1,500 (1,300/1,200) yen
University students: 1,200 (1,000/900) yen
High school students: 900 (700/600) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance / group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
* Advance tickets are on sale at the Museum ticket office (during museum hours, 30 minutes before closing hour) and e-Ticket Pia (P-code:764-101), Lawson Ticket (L-code:36611), E-Plus, CN Playguide and other major ticketing agencies until the following dates respectively: Monday, July 5, 2010.
* Advance pair tickets (two admissions, 2000yen) are sold at e-Ticket Pia (P-code:764-154), Lawson Ticket (L-code:36611), E-Plus until Wednesday, May 5, 2010.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizer Tokyo National Museum, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Daiko Advertising Inc., Henan Provincial Administration of Cultural Heritage
With the support of Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Japan
With the Assistance of Japan Airlines, Nippon Cargo Airlines, TBS Radio & Communications, Inc.
General Inquiries 03-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Official Website http://tanjochina.jp/main/en/ (Flash Player is necessary.)
The website has closed with the end of the exhibition.
 Related events (In Japanese)
  Commemorative lecture (application required)
Saturday, July 10, 2010, 13:30 - 15:00, Auditorium, Heiseikan
Title: "The Birth and Development of Chinese and Japanese Script"
Lecture by: Arai Kofu (Calligrapher)

Saturday, August 7, 2010, 13:30 - 15:00, Auditorium, Heiseikan
Title: "The Splendors of Civilization in China's Henan Province"
Lecture by: Matsumoto Nobuyuki (Senior Curator of Asian Art)

  Commemorative events
"Traditional Chinese Music Concert" (application required)
Friday, July 23, 2010
(1) 14:30 - 15:45
(2) 18:30 - 19:45
Auditorium, Heiseikan
Performed by: Chen Min (Erhu Musician) and Performers of Traditional Chinese Music

"A Guide to Appreciating Jingji (Chinese Opera)"
Friday, July 30, 2010, 18:30 - 19:30, Auditorium, Heiseikan
Performed by: Zhang Shaocheng (Jingji Performer) et al.

 Next venue
Kyushu National Museum : Tuesday, October 5 - Sunday, November 28, 2010
Nara National Museum : Tuesday, April 5 - Sunday, May 29, 2011
 Highlight of the Exhibition
Part 1: The Birth of Dynasties
Humankind has produced many and varied cultures throughout its long history. A culture which prospers for a long time, greatly influencing surrounding regions and the history that follows, is known as a civilization. In East Asia, China was the first region to be home to a civilization. In China, the production of full-scale palaces and functional metal implements began circa the 18th century BC, and writing began circa the 13th century BC.
Crucial to the development of Chinese civilization was an organized government which centralized both knowledge and power, and where supreme leadership was dominated by a single clan: in other words, a dynasty.
Evidence suggests that the first Chinese dynasty emerged in Henan circa 2000 BC. Since then, Henan has seen the rise and fall of many dynasties, which left behind a great number of artifacts symbolizing their authority. This section of the exhibition traces the birth and development of dynasties in China through artifacts excavated from Henan, which date from ca. 2000 BC through to the 1st century BC.
Bronze Ornamental Plaque   Bronze Ornamental Plaque, Animal design with turquoise inlay
Excavated in 1984 from Tomb 11, Area VI, Erlitou, Yanshi
Xia dynasty, 17th-16th century BC
H. 16.5cm, W. 11cm
Luoyang Museum
  Bronze Fangjia Cornered Wine Warmer   Bronze Fangjia Cornered Wine Warmer
Excavated in 1976 from the tomb of Fu Hao, Anyang
Shang dynasty, 13th - 12th century BC
H. 67.6cm, D. at mouth 25.6 x 23.2cm, Weight 21.5kg
Henan Museum
Bronze Ding Vessels   Bronze Ding Vessels, Nine pieces
Excavated in 1997 from Zheng State sacrificial site , Xinzheng
Spring and Autumn period (State of Zheng), 7th - 6th century BC
H. 45.5-55.3cm, mouth D. 45.8-52.8cm
Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
Jade Shroud   Jade Shroud, With gold wire
Excavated in 1986 from Tomb 1, Xishan, Mandangshan, Yongcheng
Western Han dynasty, 1st century BC
L. 180cm, W. 125cm
Henan Museum
Part 2: The Birth of Craftsmanship
A key characteristic of Chinese civilization is that techniques for producing life-enriching tools and utensils emerged at an early stage. Much time and labor has been invested in the pursuit of beauty in color and form throughout Chinese history, evidenced by minutely detailed production, the strict monitoring of quality, and the active development of new technologies through repeated trial and error.
Artisanal skills such as jade carving, ceramic and lacquerware production, bronze casting and metalwork burgeoned in Henan, resulting in many outstanding decorative art objects. These developments in craftmanship stemmed from the desire to add a sense of luxury to daily life. Under the three headings of "Lifestyle," "Eating and Drinking" and "Accessories," this section explores the customs of ancient China through a selection of exceptionally crafted decorative art objects.
Three-color Glazed Vase with Twin Dragon Handles   Three-color Glazed Vase with Twin Dragon Handles
Excavated in 1992 from Xiaobei, Zhitian, Gongyi
Tang dynasty, 8th century
H. 41.2cm, Body D. 20.6cm
Zhengzhou Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
Seven-Story Pavilion   Seven-Story Pavilion, Earthenware with painted detail
Excavated in Jiaozuo
Eastern Han dynasty, 2nd century
H. 182.2cm, W. 157.8cm
Jiaozuo Municipal Museum
Gold Jewelry   Gold Jewelry, With precious stones
Excavated in 1990 from a Song dynasty tomb, Mangshan, Luoyang
Northern Song dynasty, 11th - 12th century
H. 6.5cm, L. 7.2cm, Thickness 0.3cm, Weight 22.4g
Luoyang Museum
Part 3: The Birth of Artistic Beauty
Chinese civilization is distinctive for its continuity since ancient times, a factor which differentiates it from the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and other such regions. For this reason, many subjects commonly found in Chinese painting, calligraphy, sculpture and decorative arts also have a long history. This section gives an overview of the birth and development of Chinese art under four themes: "Mythology," "Buddhism," "People and Animals," and "Calligraphy and Painting."
Stone Tablet Bearing Epitaph for Wang Shanggong   Stone Tablet Bearing Epitaph for Wang Shanggong
Excavated in 1936 from Beichencun, Mengjin
Northern Song dynasty, dated 1084
L. 77.8cm, W. 77.5cm, Thickness 16.5cm
Henan Museum
Bronze Mythical Beast   Bronze Mythical Beast, Turquoise inlay
Excavated in 1990 from Tomb 9, Xujialing, Xichuan
Spring and Autumn period,
6th - 5th century BC
H. 48cm, L. 47cm, W. 27cm
Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
  Stoneware Reliquary   Three-color Glazed Reliquary
Excavated in 1966 from the crypt of Fahaisi temple, Xinmi
Northern Song dynasty, 10th century
H. 47.3cm, W. 33.2cm, Depth 33.2cm
Henan Museum
Chariot Driver and Horse   Chariot Driver and Horse, Earthenware with painted detail
Excavated in 1987 from the elementary school of the 15th engineering department, Luoyang
Tang dynasty, 8th century
Horse: H. 40cm; Figure: H. 35cm
Luoyang Museum