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Oriental capital of museums: Luoyang the magnificent

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    11:17, December 25, 2020

Dubbed “the oriental capital of museums,” Luoyang in central China’s Henan Province has about 100 museums that harbor more than four billion cultural relics. Do you want to know the history of Luoyang, the capital of 13 dynasties? Do you want to enjoy the beautiful peony porcelain accessories that has caused a fashion frenzy worldwide? Please follow us and have a look at the most prominent museums in Luoyang!

Luoyang Museum

Situated in the Yellow River Valley, Luoyang Museum is the most important museum in the city. It offers exhibits of the rich cultural heritage of Luoyang, a major Chinese cultural centre, which was the capital of numerous Chinese dynasties including the Eastern Zhou and the Eastern Han, and houses relics from excavation sites all over the city. They include antiquaries from palaces and temples. These artifacts establish the historical past of Luoyang, representing elements of the ancient city of nine capitals, from Neolithic times up to 937 AD.

Chipped, Battered, Broken, Yet Elegantly Beautiful – Northern Wei Clay Buddha facial figure 

Facial portion of a clay Buddha figure (People’s Daily Online/Kou Jie)

Discovered beneath the ruins of a Northern Wei (493 - 534 AD) temple in Luoyang in 1979, the battered facial portion of a clay Buddha figure is one of the most famous cultural relics in China. Visitors who lay eyes on the figure are usually awestruck by its elegance, despite the fact that the figure’s eyes and forehead are broken off the head. Like the Venus de Milo, which represents one of the highest ideals of feminine beauty in Western art, this broken figure represents one of the finest sculptures in China’s art history.

Representing Buddha, the figure has not only given off a vibe of solemnity, but also a hit of earthly beauty. Unlike the sedate expression most Buddha statues wear on their faces, this clay figure has a warm and kind smile on its face, making people feel closer to the heavenly God.

The figure was created in Northern Wei Dynasty, when Buddhism was highly appreciated both by the public and the royals. Many of the most important Buddhism heritages of China were built in the Northern Wei Dynasty, such as the Yungang Grottoes, the Longmen Grottoes and the Shaolin Monastery.

Flowing light and color – Tang Tri-color glazed pottery camel 

Tri-color glazed pottery camel (People’s Daily Online/Kou Jie)

Luoyang Museum is famous for its abundant collection of tri-color glaze pottery wares. Tri-color glaze pottery is a versatile type of decoration on Chinese pottery using glazes, predominantly in the three colors of amber, green and a creamy off-white. In the early 20s, a large number of tri-color glazed pottery wares were discovered in the Mangshan Mountains of Luoyang, which was then acknowledged and valued by academics. Such wares are particularly associated with the Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 907 AD) and its tomb figures, therefore they are also named Tang Sancai in Chinese.

The tri-color glazed pottery camel was excavated from the tomb of An Pu, a general of the Tang dynasty. According to historical records, An was a Sogdian general who served in the Chinese army for his whole life. The tri-color glazed pottery camel, an animal not originating from China, represented An’s foreign identity, as well as a solid evidence of ancient China’s cultural and people-to-people exchange with the world.


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(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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