Relics Hall
Introdution to Relics Hall

The semicircular Relics Hall spans 63m at a height of 19m and covers a total building area of 7,588m2. A continuous spatial change is formed when the extending and mild arch appearance gradually transits to and mixes with the pure and fresh outdoor landscape. Inside the hall, a large-space column-free structure is adopted to ensure a complete sacrificial site, and the large-span steel structure is to minimize the impact of buildings on the cultural relics. Sustainable building design in consideration of cultural relics protection and ecological protection has created favorable conditions for archaeological excavation and preservation of cultural relics.


The Relics Hall houses the main part of excavation site of the large sacrifice venue in Jinsha Site, the only best preserved one of its kind in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties in China at present. Displayed as it was, the excavation site and the tree root relics have maintained the integrity and authentication of those historical relics while shocking every visitor coming for it. Here, visitors have a chance to see how grand the worshipping ceremony was 3,000 years ago and how archaeological excavation was performed on the site at a short distance.

 

The sacrificial area, located at the east part of the Site, with coverage of about 15,000 square meters, is a specified location for religious worship activities of ancient Shu kingdom along the river specially in the period of late Shang Dynasty to early Spring and Autumn Period (about 1200-650 B.C.). It is distributed along the south river bank. Probably, the ancient Shu people held sacrificial ceremony on the river bank, and then buried the ritual artifacts on the river rapids after the ceremony. Until early Spring and Autumn Period, within 500 years’ activities of burying, the river bank were fully filled. Meanwhile, with the shift of the political center, the holy land of Jinsha was gradually not used.


Until now, more than 60 sacrificial remains have been found in the Relics Hall and unearthed precious cultural relics over 6,000 pieces including gold wares, bronze articles, jade objects, stone, bone or horn implements, lacquered woods, as well as tons of elephant tusks, and a large amount of boar tusks, deer horns and earthenware.


According to those sites, it is concluded that the sacrifice in Jinsha was developed through three stages, between which, or in which, significant difference was formed in respect of objects.


The 1st stage was dominated by elephant tusks and stone implements, supplemented by some earthenware, lacquered woods and a small number of jade objects, which should belong to the 2nd or 3rd phase of Yinxu (around 1200 B.C.).


In the 2nd stage, while the elephant tusks were still in use massively, stone implements and lacquered woods were gradually replaced by jade objects, bronze articles and gold wares, which should belong to the 3rd or 4th phase of Yinxu and to the middle Western Zhou Dynasty (around 1100-850 B.C.).


In the 3rd stage, a sharp increase in boar tusks, deer horns, beautiful stones and earthenware, and a sharp decrease in jade objects, bronze articles and gold wares favored in the previous stage, were found. The period they belonged to should be the late Western Zhou Dynasty to the early Spring and Autumn Period (around 850 to 650 B.C.).


Sacrifice of Jinsha

In ancient times with low social productivity, ancestors were unable to explain some natural phenomenon, diseases and death. Instead, they created a “God” to take control of the world, and believed that more communication with him would be vital to the survival and development of the whole nation. For this cause, the systematical ritual and rites were formed, which was called Sacrifice, a way to communicate with the gods for worship and blessings.


From the large sacrifice venue at the Jinsha Site, we see the past continuous activities and their grandness again in ancient Shu. The way to hold a sacrifice and its contents differ from time to time, implying the complexity and diversification of the magic-religious cultural system in ancient Shu kingdom. For instance, the Sun and Immortal Bird Gold Ornament represents ancestors’ worship to the sun, the Toad to the moon, the jade objects like Bi, Zhang, Ge and Cong, to the whole world and mountains and rivers contained in it, while relics or patterns with elephant, deer horn, boar tusk, tiger, snake, turtle and bird reflect their love and respect to animals. Frequent sacrifices with rich objects have shown the high standing of religious ritual in social activities in ancient Shu, and manifested a religious style totally different from other ancient capital civilization in other areas in China due to its obvious regional features. It is also the only capital site in China where large amount of ivories, boar tusks and deer horns were excavated.

 


Introduction to Sites
Jinsha No.2 Ruin

Introduction: the plane surface of Feature No.2 is rectangular. It covers an area of 300 square meters. A piece of elephant tusk , thousands of wild boar tusks and deer horns, 100 pieces of beautiful stone wares, 43 pieces of jade wares, 14 pieces of bronze wares and some pieces of pottery wares were buried in the pit. Through analysis of these buried articles, it’s believed that they were particularly selected and used in sacrificial and religious activities.

Period: Early Spring and Autumn Period


Jinsha No.8 Ruin

Introduction: The plane surface is round in shape with an area of 2 square meters. Artifacts were divided into five layers. Vermilion was scattered over the whole pit. 345 artifacts were unearthed in this pit, including 45 gold wares,  93 bronze wares,194 jade wares, 7 stone wares, 3 elephant tusks and 3 pottery wares. At present, the gold mask is the largest and the best preserved one unearthed of the Late Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties in China.

Period: Late Shang Dynasty to Early Western Zhou Dynasty


Jinsha No.11 Ruin

Brief Introduction: The plane surface of Feature No.11 is irregular rectangle in shape. Sacrificial offerings are laid in two layers. The upper layer is dominated by 15 entire elephant tusks over 1.6m in length, and the length of the longest one is 1.85m, while ivories, lacquer wood wares, and stone wares are buried in the under layer, including 12 pieces of ivory wares, a piece of bean-shaped ivory, 11 pieces of ivory string of beadsa piece of molar of elephant, 2 pieces of elephant skulls, a piece of lacquer wood with jade setting, a piece of wooden tiger lacquer ware and a piece of stone spear.

Period: late Shang Dynasty


Jinsha No.18 Ruin

Brief Introduction: The plane surface of Feature No.18 is rectangular, which is made up of 9 wooden columns with the side length of 40 cm. The surface is about 22 square meters, of which the distance between columns is 1.9m from south to north, and 2.9m from east to west. It is presumed that the rectangular wood platform located here is 3000 years old. The wooden columns had been rotten, while the post holes still existed there.

Period: Early and Middle Western Zhou Dynasty


Jinsha No.1 Ruin

Introduction: The plane surface is rectangle in shape. It was destroyed partly when discovered. Artifacts were laid in layers. The upper layers were buried with elephant tusks, among which the longest one was 1.6 m. According to observation of the earth layers, there were altogether 8 layers of elephant tusks accumulated regularly. The lower layers deposited a lot of gold, jade and bronze wares. So far, this pit has the most concentrated burial offerings and the best regular shape at the sacrificial area of Jinsha site. In addition, these elephant tusks are reburied under the requirement of preservation.

Period: Late Shang Dynasty to Early Western Zhou Dynasty