Chengdu Museum’s path to international cooperation

Chengdu Museum Photo: Screenshot from webiste

The Chengdu Museum Photo: Screenshot from webiste


The Chengdu Museum has joined hands with the Louvre Museum and the British Museum to explore future cooperation. On the eve of International Museum Day, Chengdu Museum launched in-depth cooperation discussions with these two world-class museums through online conferences.

The Chengdu Museum and the Louvre Museum discussed cooperation matters such as exhibition exchanges and talent training through an online meeting on the afternoon of May 14th. The Louvre Museum expressed its appreciation for the Chengdu Museum’s ability to attract large audiences and raised hopes of deepening the partnership through the introduction of high-quality exhibitions over the next five years. The initial plan is to promote a series of exhibitions that can reflect better times and people’s lives in France to Chengdu in 2026-2027.

The Louvre’s classic exhibitions will be actively introduced to the Chengdu Museum in the next three years, providing Chengdu citizens with the opportunity to experience the cultural charm of romantic France at their doorstep.

The following day, an online meeting between the Chengdu Museum and the British Museum was also successfully held. During the meeting, the two parties had a detailed discussion on the themes and directions of future exhibitions. The British Museum recognizes the Chengdu Museum’s international exhibitions and exchange activities.

In the past few years, the Chengdu Museum has maintained close cooperation with top museums in France, the United Kingdom, and other places. The Chengdu Museum said it will continue to play its role as a bridge for cultural exchanges, committed to introducing more high-quality exhibitions, promoting cultural exchanges, and contributing to Chengdu’s creation of a world-famous cultural city.

China to open Qin-Han Civilization Museum for celebrating International Museum Day

Shaanxi History Museum (SHM) Qin-Han Civilization Museum. Photo: Snapshot from Sina Weibo

Shaanxi History Museum (SHM) Qin-Han Civilization Museum. Photo: Snapshot from Sina Weibo

A new branch of the well-known Shaanxi History Museum (SHM) in Xi’an, capital city of Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, themed on the civilizations of Qin (221-206BC) and Han (206BC-AD220) dynasties, will be officially opened to the public on May 18, as China’s main venue to celebrate the International Museum Day 2024, the National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) announced at a press conference in Beijing on Friday.

Luo Wenli, deputy director of the NCHA, said during the press conference that this year’s main theme is “Museums for Education and Research,” aiming to showcase the latest achievements in China’s museum sector and further bridge the communication between museums and the public.

The new museum – SHM Qin-Han Civilization Museum – is located in Xixian New Area, Shaanxi Province, adjacent to the national archaeological site park of Qin Xianyang City.

It will present the “Qin and Han Civilization” series of exhibitions by featuring about 1,500 artifacts. Additionally, they will host an exhibition for celebrating the 10th anniversary of the successful UNESCO listing of Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor.

In 2014, a joint application by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan led to the recognition of “the Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor” as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About 2,000 years ago, in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD25), a Chinese envoy named Zhang Qian began his expedition to the Western Regions and opened a trade route that later became the Silk Road. Spanning thousands of miles and thousands of years, the ancient Silk Road was not only a route for trade and barter, but also a route for exchanges between civilizations, making a significant contribution to the development and progress of human society.

Hou Ningbin, director of the Shaanxi History Museum, told the Global Times on Friday that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the successful UNESCO listing of the Silk Road starting from Chang’an. “We have carefully planned this exhibition and borrowed 13 exhibits from the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan that have significant elements of cultural exchange between China and countries along the ancient Silk Road.”

He emphasized the important role of UNESCO listing in the protection and utilization of cultural heritage, stating that since the successful listing, various joint cooperation including archaeological excavations, cultural relic protection, and educational activities between China and countries from the Central and West Asia have been carried out in the countries along the ancient Silk Road.

According to Luo, the opening ceremony of the main event will include several significant announcements, such as unveiling the latest data on the development of China’s museum sector in 2023, releasing the fifth batch of national first-level museums, jointly awarding 20 national revolutionary cultural relic coordination centers with the Ministry of Education, launching the theme exhibition promotion “reading China in museums” in collaboration with the Cyberspace Administration of China, and announcing the “top 10 national museum exhibitions.”

In addition to the main activities mentioned above, various museums and memorial halls in Shaanxi Province and other cities across the country will hold various activities to celebrate the International Museum Day.

For example, Beijing will hold the “Beijing Museum Month,” featuring exhibitions, cultural creativity, film screenings and reading activities.

Media reported that since joining the International Council of Museums in 1983, China has organized International Museum Day activities every year. Since 2009, NCHA has been jointly organizing the main venue event with provincial governments, and this year marks the 15th edition.

Suzhou Museum displays novel architecture, exquisite relics

On Wednesday, the list of first-grade national museums was released in China, featuring 204 distinguished institutions. Among them stands the Suzhou Museum in East China’s Jiangsu Province, which has been enlisted as a first-class museum since 2008. 

The Suzhou Museum, distinguished by its innovative architectural style, was designed by the world-renowned Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei for his ancestral home.  

With a collection of more than 30,000 historical relics spread across 10,700 square meters, the museum comprises central, east and west halls connected by corridors. The first and second floors consist of four basic exhibitions, while the underground floor houses a special exhibition hall, a theater, and a lecture hall.

The trompe l'oeil painting in the courtyard of the Suzhou Museum Photo: VCG

The trompe l’oeil painting in the courtyard of the Suzhou Museum Photo: VCG

A unique design

Built in October 2006, the Suzhou Museum is a structure that perfectly integrates both traditional and modern architectural elements. The building features white walls and a grey-tiled rooftop, harmonizing well with the historical and cultural neighborhood with the famous Humble Administrator’s Garden nearby. 

Through the frames of windows of different shapes, visitors can peek at the natural scenery artfully arranged by well-trimmed trees and enjoy the integration of the original natural environment and the structure’s artificial scenery.

Right outside the exhibition halls, a zigzagging path leads visitors through a typical Suzhou courtyard, which features a pond and a pavilion. 

Interestingly, the courtyard also offers a fascinating trompe l’oeil experience thanks to the clever positioning of rocks on the pebbles by the pond and against the backdrop of the northern white wall, looking like a real Chinese landscape painting. 

On top of these classical elements, the museum also features modern architectural materials like glass, granite and steel and concrete that replace slanting clay shingles and wooden beams, respectively. Particularly, visitors are attracted at the first sight by its geometric shapes such as rhombuses, hexagons and squares of the exhibition building.

What is more worth mentioning is that Pei’s core concept for the building lies in his masterful use of light. Above the corridors, metal sunscreen strips and traditional wooden materials filter sunlight, making visitors feel like walking under the bamboo shade. And the sunlight through windows can also shift radiating angles with the change of time, producing different visual effects. 

The interplay between soft natural elements and hard architectural materials add to the museum’s allure, creating a harmonious balance between tradition and innovation and an architectural wonder.

A general view of the Suzhou Museum Photo: VCG

A general view of the Suzhou Museum Photo: VCG

‘Art gallery’

Suzhou boasts a history of more than 4,000 years and a rich cultural heritage. According to historical records, Suzhou was established as the capital of the State of Wu in 524 BC. Since then, it has maintained its identity as one of China’s famous historical cities. 

The museum’s collection spans four sections, including bronze wares, jade wares, pottery, porcelain, paintings and calligraphy, and silk garments excavated from the archaeological sites of the surrounding region. 

The first section consists of jade wares, bronze wares, pottery, porcelain, which reflect the cultural advancement of Suzhou in ancient times. Small Buddhist pagodas take up the second section with national-level relics. In the third section, bamboo and wood carvings, silk garments, furniture made of precious wooden materials in the study amaze visitors with their exquisite craftsmanship and elegant style.

As one of the cradles of Chinese civilizations, Suzhou is also known for numerous literati and artists. The fourth section houses the masterpieces of the Wu School of the Ming Dynasty, featuring landscape paintings, and those of the Yangzhou School, another city close to Suzhou known for its flower and bamboo paintings.

The most precious treasures in the museum include a national treasure, the bronze sword of Fuchai, king of the State of Wu in 495 BC, a ceramic bowl in the shape of a lotus flower from the Five Dynasties Period (907-960) and the Pearl Pillar of the Buddhist Shrine from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) unearthed from one of the two Buddhist temples in Suzhou. 

Among them, the sword made more than 2,000 years ago draws a lot of people’s attention. It is particularly well known for its two-step casting technique. First, the alloy of bronze and a higher amount of tin was employed to form its handle, then bronze was used to make its body, and finally the two parts were linked together, so the sword is sharp and firm. The sword is also marvelous for the refined inscriptions engraved on it, recording the name of the maker, its function, and the time of its making. It represents the advanced weapon-making craftsmanship in ancient China and unique aesthetics in the State of Wu with profound historical and cultural significance.

Today, the Suzhou Museum ranks among the city’s top tourist attractions. Among tourists, a saying goes: “Without visiting the Suzhou Museum, you have not been to Suzhou.” Embracing this sentiment, young people increasingly view museums as “universities” or knowledge powerhouses that can help them learn more about a city and its culture.

While strolling along Suzhou Museum, visitors can get an additional treat. Bai, a university student, told the Global Times, “I’ve never seen a pond inside a museum. It looks like a garden. This museum may not look so imposing, but when I walk through it I feel relaxed, as if wandering in an art gallery.” Indeed the Suzhou Museum is worth exploring.

Experience Sanyuesan in Nanning

Photo: VCG

Zhuang people play the drums to celebrate the Sanyuesan Festival in Nanning, uangxi, on Thursday. Photos: VCG

The Zhuang People’s Sanyuesan Festival, falling on the third day of March of the lunar calendar, also known as “Sam Nyied Sam” in the Zhuang language, is one of the most important traditional festivals celebrated by the Zhuang ethnic group, primarily in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in South China. This is a time rich in cultural significance, festivity, and sense of community, showcasing the unique traditions and identity of the Zhuang people, China’s largest minority group.

A series of cultural activities, such as folk song performances and displays of special intangible cultural heritage, was held in Nanning, the capital city of Guangxi. According to various domestic airlines, many visitors from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members have secured their flight reservations to Guangxi for Sanyuesan Festival. Currently, the most popular route between Guangxi and ASEAN is the Nanning-Bangkok flight, reported BBRTV, a media outlet based in Guangxi. 

Grand festival

The origins of Sanyuesan Festival are deeply rooted in the Zhuang people’s history, mythology, and agricultural practices. While specific stories about the festival’s beginnings vary, many relate to themes of love, heroism, and the veneration of nature and ancestors. One popular legend tells of a tragic love story that ended with the lovers turning into butterflies, symbolizing eternal love and the renewal of life.

This annual celebration is a time for the Zhuang people to honor their ancestors, celebrate their ethnic identity, and welcome the spring. It’s also an opportunity to pray for good weather, a bountiful harvest, and the overall well-being for the community.

In recent years, the festival has also become a tourist attraction, with people from other parts of China and the world coming to experience Zhuang culture. The local government and cultural organizations often organize large-scale events, including cultural performances, traditional sports, and exhibitions of Zhuang handicrafts, to promote cultural heritage preservation and intercultural exchange.

Singing is a vital part of Zhuang culture, and song fairs are held where people engage in “Antiphonal Singing” (duet singing contests) to express love and friendship. These singing performances are not just musical contests but also social gatherings where young people can meet.

Even today, when you wander around in local parks in Nanning, you can hear many residents sing beautifully using portable karaoke sets. 

When you visit Nanning for Sanyuesan, you will be able to see and maybe even experience the time-honored traditions passed down from generation to generation by the Zhuang people. 

People participate in rituals to worship their ancestors and the gods of nature, often in sacred places such as ancient woods or atop mountains. The Lusheng, a traditional reed-pipe instrument, accompanies dances and celebrations, adding to the festival’s vibrant atmosphere. Participants often wear traditional Zhuang clothing, featuring bright colors and intricate embroidery, symbolizing cultural pride and heritage.

Sanyuesan Festival is not just a testament to the enduring spirit and traditions of the Zhuang people but also an important reminder of the richness and diversity of China’s ethnic cultures.

More surprises

Guangxi is the autonomous region with the largest population of ethnic minorities in China, which accounts for 37.6 percent of the region’s total permanent population. The Chinese nation is closely united and all ethnic groups are members of the nation. 

If you want to explore the rich and diverse ethnic cultures of China, there’s no better place to visit than thethe Anthropology Museum of Guangxi located in Nanning.

The museum is a premier institution dedicated to the preservation, research, display, and promotion of the tangible and intangible heritage of the region’s diverse ethnic communities. With a built-up space of 30,000 square meters, the museum stands as a witness to the rich cultural mosaic of Guangxi.

The museum’s main building draws architectural inspiration from the iconic Guangxi bronze drum, symbolizing the region’s rich geographical and ethnic heritage. Its design, resembling a roc spreading its wings, houses state-of-the-art facilities including a movie hall, multi-functional hall, heritage specimen observation room, specialized libraries, a virtual museum, and a room for social collections.

Visitors to the museum can immerse themselves in the Colorful Guangxi exhibition and the Culture of Bronze-drum exhibition, which highlight the unique local architecture, clothing, and wooden artifacts of Guangxi. These exhibitions offer valuable insights into the customs, origins, and evolution of the bronze-drum culture among Guangxi’s ethnic minorities. The gorgeous garments exhibition presents the stunning attire of different ethnic groups, highlighting the vibrant charm of Guangxi’s ethnic cultures and arts.

This museum not only serves as a cultural hub for learning about Guangxi’s diverse ethnic groups but also plays a crucial role in promoting intercultural understanding and appreciation. Whether you’re interested in traditional artifacts, ethnic arts, or the vibrant culture of Guangxi, the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities offers a rich and immersive experience.