I Jinsha Site
Jinsha site was unearthed in February 2001 in Chengdu in an area spreading across about 5 square kilometers. It was the capital of the ancient Shu state, the center of the ancient civilization center in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River from the 12th century BC to the 7th century BC. The excavation of Jinsha site marks the first major archaeological discovery in China since its first step into the 21st century, and it also reveals the existence of another historical relic in Sichuan Province following the famous Sanxingdui, wining itself the title of “Top Ten Archaeological Discoveries of 2001”.
Among the important relics unearthed at Jinsha site are large-scale building foundations, the sacrificial zone, general residential sites, large-scale burial grounds, etc. Among the unearthed precious cultural relics are gold, bronze, jade, stone, ivory objects and lacquerware, tens of thousands of pottery pieces, tons of ivory, and thousands of wild boar tusks and antlers. Compared with other contemporaneous sites in the world, Jinsha site might be the only one with the most copious quantity of gold and jade artifacts and the most bountiful coverage of ivories. It is clear now that the main cultural relics of Jinsha site dates to the period from the late Shang Dynasty to the Western Zhou Dynasty. It was highly possible another political, economic, and cultural center rising on the Chengdu Plain after the decay of Sanxingdui civilization, the capital of ancient Shu state in the same period and one of the most important sites in the pre-Qin period in China.
II. Jinsha Site Museum
In April 2007, a museum carrying the three-thousand-year history of Chengdu soared skyward from where the site is. Covering the remains of Jinsha site, the museum serves to protect, research, and display the Jinsha culture and ancient Shu civilization. The Museum sits on a land of 300,000 square meters, contains the Relics Hall, Exhibition Hall, Tourists Center, Cultural Relic Protection and Restoration Center, Jinsha Theater, Park Area etc., totaling a construction area of 38,000 square meters. With multiple functions of education, research, and entertainment, this modern garden-style museum has become an iconic landscape marking the long-standing history of Chengdu.
1. The Relics and Exhibition Hall
The two main buildings of Jinsha Site Museum, Relics Hall and Exhibition Hall, stand on the north and south banks of the Modi River, becoming two important landmark buildings of Chengdu with their distinctive complementary features of hardness in the square shape and softness in the round curves respectively. Relics Hall locates in the east of the museum and south of the Modi River, and it is a ramp-like semi-circular all-steel building with a construction area of 7588 square meters.
It is at the site of Relics Hall that the sacrifice-offering area of Jinsha Site was excavated. It is currently the most well-preserved and longest-lasting sacrifice-offering remains with the largest amount of sacrificial remains and relics in China. Stepping into the Museum, tourists will see the focus on the original ecological protection of the excavation site, which throws them right back into the magnificent and breath-taking riverside sacrificial scenes of ancient Shu state 3000 years ago, and reveals the secrecy of the meticulous and complex archaeological excavation work since 2001 with the plenty of precious cultural relics unearthed.
Exhibition Hall is located on the north bank of the Modi River. It is a ramp-like semi-circular all-steel building with a construction area of 16,000 square meters, including 5 exhibition halls centering on the theme of Enter Jinsha: Primitive Homeland, King Palace at a Glance, Immortal Heaven and Earth, Peak of Perfection, and Seeking Answers. The 5 halls, relying on the important relics and remains, bring back the splendid and brilliant old lives of Jinsha in ancient Shu from ecological environment, architectural form, production life, funeral customs, religious sacrifices etc. using modern scientific and technological means.
The audio-visual techniques-equipped 4D movie “Dreaming Back to Jinsha” is played on a regular basis in the 4D cinema in Exhibition Hall, dragging the audiences back to the time machine and back to the prosperous life from Du Yu Dynasty all the way to Kaiming Dynasty 3000 years ago. Exhibition Hall also provides other places to look at including Jinsha special souvenir shops, Jinsha food bar, service center, storage, and other service facilities.
2. The Park
The blossoming and fragrant scene is not uncommon in the Park Area with a variety of flowers and trees waving and dancing. Setting foot on the Jade Road and the path running in the Ebony Forest in the Garden Area turns on yet another inner switch for the great performance showing the great changes happened on this beloved land and the arduous jade-carving work of our ancestors.
In December 2011, the Sun and Immortal Birds Gold Ornament unearthed at Jinsha site, the main design on China Cultural Heritage, was also confirmed as the core pattern of the urban image of Chengdu. Today, Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum, the iconic landscape, not only tells widely the stories of Chengdu’s long history and culture, but also has become an indispensable exhibition and research center for ancient Shu culture, a youth social education base and an important place for tourists to visit and rest. Since its official opening to the public on April 16, 2007, it has received more than 12.73 million tourists from home and abroad.