Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming

Introduction

Yunnan Provincial Museum is located in the east section of Guangfu Road in Guandu District. As a comprehensive museum, it has rich collections of more than 200,000 pieces. For tourists, the museum can help them to know Yunnan’s history and the rich ethnic culture; for history lovers, its rich collections give them the opportunity to better understand Yunnan and the ancient Dian Kingdom’s (278 – 115BC) historical features as well as bronze culture.

History of Yunnan Provincial Museum

Founded in 1951, the Yunnan Provincial Museum is a comprehensive museum. Since that year it has collected various kinds of special items with historical and ethnic features from archaeological excavations, purchases from collectors and has been the recipient of donations from organizations. With more that 190 thousand pieces of art works ranging from bronze wares, ancient moneys, porcelains, old Chinese paintings, stone tablet rubbings to stamps, the museum ranks first in terms of the volume of collected items. Among these items, more than 1000 are categorized as first class cultural relics at state level.

From 1955 to 1960, an extensive tomb excavation was conducted in the ancient tomb clusters of  Jingning Shizaishan in Yuxi city, Yunnan. The large amount of bronze wares from this excavation unveiled the mysterious legend of the Ancient Dian Kingdom recorded in ancient Chinese historical literature back to more 2000 years ago.  Later on these were regarded as Shi Zai Shan (Stone Village Mountain) Culture.

In 1972, the tomb excavation in Li Jia Shan in Jiang Chuan County made it another important archaeological site for Shi Zai Shan Culture. The excavated items presented more evidence for people to understand the Ancient Dian Kingdom, enabling people to understand this long lost civilization on China’s frontier.

From 1975 to 1976, there was another archeological dig at Wang Jia Ba in Chuxiong. About 1245 items were found which are believed to belong to the period of Spring and Autumn of the West Han Dynasty in ancient China (around 770 BC to second century AD). Among these important unearthed art works there are five bronze drums that could be dated back to the Spring and Autumn Period. They are believed to be the earliest of their kind in the world up to now.

Major Exhibitions

1. Bronze Vessels of the Dian Kingdom: Bronze vessels here maintain a high artistic level and have rich social & cultural meanings. The related collections mainly include Bronze Oxhead Ornaments, Chime of the King of the Dian Kingdom, Bronze Lantern with Three Branches, Gilding Horsewoman Ornaments, Ox-shaped Bronze Reed-pipes, etc. Those bronze vessels reveal people’s daily lives of that time period vividly.

2. Buddhism Relics: Yunnan is a place that Buddhism shines everywhere. Numbers of Buddhism relics have been inherited from history and preserved in the Yunnan Provincial Museum. The representative collections include a Golden Kwanyin Statue unearthed in Dali and a Five-colored Model Dagoba.

3. Intangible Cultural Heritage: Yunnan is a province that inhabited by many minority nationalities which have different life styles and habits, and whose culture is very colorful. Yunnan Provincial Museum exhibits rich intangible cultural heritages of the local ethnic minorities such as manual dyeing, batik, metal crafts and handmade Pu’er tea.

4. Metalwork: Bronze Drum In addition to the bronze vessels, metal crafts showed in the Yunnan Provincial Museum include gold vessels and silver vessels, all of which came from the Han (202BC – 220AD) and Ming Dynasty. Those came from the Han Dynasty are mostly golden decorations, such as golden earrings inlaid with jewels, and the golden tuinga. Silver vessels are mostly from the local minorities. Each exhibition reflects different cultural backgrounds and different understandings of beauty.

5. Jewelry and Jade Articles: They mainly include jade, amber, carnelian and crystal. Most of the selected items are made from superb material and by excellent carving. Among them, the most distinctive collection is jade articles of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD), including a blue jade Bitian (a tool used to wipe writing brush), and Jadite Bed-curtain Hook. They are made of exquisite workmanship, which fully indicate the wisdom of the ancient Chinese.

6. Carving Craft: There are about ten pieces of carving crafts of different shapes in Yunnan Provincial Museum, which are made from different material like bamboo, wood, ivory, stone, horn, bone, etc. Among them, the Ivory Carving of Cursive Wall Hangings is the highlight; with a height of 198 cm (6.5 feet) and a width of 58 cm (2 feet), all of the twelve paintings are painted by famous Yunnan local sculptors.

7. Yunnan Minority Customs and Ornaments Exhibition: This exhibit displays the dress and ornamentation of some 22 national minorities living in Yunnan, including Dai, Bai, Naxi, Hani, Lahu, Jingpo, Blang, De’ang, Lisu, Pumi, Va, Nu, Drung, Achang, and Jino.

Highlighted Cultural Relics of Yunnan Provincial Museum

There are 1,000 Grade One relics among over 400,000 pieces of cultural relics in the museum, including a cloud and thunder-vein bronze drum of the Spring and Autumn Period, a bronze coffin (being 200 centimeters long, 62 centimeters wide, 64 centimeters tall and 257 kilograms in weight)and a bronze ware of “Two Tigers Devouring a Bull” of the Warring States Period,a “Knight Pasturing a Cattle”seashell container of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-9 AD), a gold statue of Kwan-yin (the Goddess of Mercy), the painting of Traveling Amid Mountains and Streams by Guo Xi of the Northern Song Dynasty(960-1127), the painting of Wugao Mountain by Shi Dandang of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)and the painting of Du Fu Riding a Horse by Qian Feng of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

In addition, there are bronze wares of the Dian Culture, Buddhist relics of the periods of Nanzhao (738-902)and the Dali Kingdom (937-1254),as well as various exquisite ethnic relics of modern times in Yunnan Provincial Museum.

How to get there?

1. Take bus no. 169, 252, A12, or D28 to Xin Bao Xiang He Qiao, and then walk southeast for about 270 meters (300 yards) to reach there.
2. Take bus no. 31, 165, 185, 186, 253, 255, 259, 908, C85, C142, C143, K15, K15 Express, or K42 and get off at Puzi Village, and then walk northwest for about 550 meters (600 yards) to get there.

Travel Tips:

 1. There is a maximum of no more than 1500 tourists every day, including 500 tourists in the morning, 500 tourists in the  afternoon, 500 tourists from other provinces.
2. Tourists should protect public facilities, or they must pay the full price for anything damaged.
3. No smoking and No spitting.

Tips Before Travel

Bring copies of your passport

Don't assume you're restricted to the main hubs of Beijing and Shanghai, our tours can start from any city.

Register with your embassy

For your safety, please register with the Embassy.

Always have local cash

Exchange some local currency for your trip

Our Team