23rd August 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) is thrilled to announce its upcoming special exhibition, “Gazing at Sanxingdui: New Archaeological Discoveries in Sichuan,” as part of the 2023 National Day celebrations. This captivating exhibition will run from 27th September 2023 to 8th January 2024. Co-organised by the HKPM, the Sanxingdui Museum in Guanghan, and the Jinsha Site Museum in Chengdu, with the support of the Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and the Chengdu Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, this event is made possible by the Sole Sponsor, Bank of China (Hong Kong). Tickets for this extraordinary exhibition will be available for purchase starting 1st September 2023 at 10am.
Featuring 120 archaeological treasures, including 23 grade-one national treasures, “Gazing at Sanxingdui” focuses on the latest discoveries at the renowned Sanxingdui site in Sichuan province. These remarkable artefacts, dating back 2,600 to 4,500 years, comprise bronze, jade, gold, and pottery objects. Nearly half of these treasures were unearthed during recent excavations spanning from 2020 to 2022, making their debut outside the province. Notably, visitors will have the privilege of viewing bronze heads, mythical creatures, eye-shaped objects, dragon-shaped artefacts, a captivating hybrid tiger-dragon figure, and a jade rectangular stand adorned with animal motifs and phoenix-bird designs. These exceptional items are currently showcased at the newly established Sanxingdui Museum in Guanghan, Sichuan.
Among the 120 priceless artefacts, 23 are esteemed grade-one national treasures, including the renowned bronzes discovered in 1986 and graciously loaned by the Sanxingdui Museum. Among these treasures are a bronze head with a gold mask, a mask with protruding pupils, a figure adorned with an animal headdress, a zun-vessel, and the stand of a bronze tree. Additionally, 18 artifacts, discovered since 2001 and on loan from the Jinsha Site Museum in Chengdu, will captivate visitors. Key highlights include a bronze eye-shaped object, two jade yue-axes excavated in 2001 (being exhibited in Hong Kong for the first time), and a gold trumpet-shaped object adorned with intricate swirling cloud motifs, discovered in 2007.
The latest discoveries in Sichuan offer a glimpse into the extraordinary achievements of the ancient Shu civilization, exemplifying the “diversity in unity” developmental pattern of Chinese civilization. Represented by the Sanxingdui culture in Sichuan, the ancient Shu civilization played an integral role in shaping the contemporaneous cultures of the upper Yangtze River region. This exhibition encompasses cultural relics from the Sanxingdui, Jinsha, and Baodun sites, divided into four thematic sections that explore the art, urban life, belief systems, and origins and legacy of the ancient Shu civilization. It also delves into the technological advancements and artistic accomplishments that flourished across the Chengdu Plain.
The first section, “Timeless Gazes,” presents an array of bronze human heads, masks, and depictions of deities. These captivating artworks, with their expressive forms and ancient allure, offer a window into narratives lost to history, guiding us through the corridors of time. The second section, “Urban Life at Sanxingdui,” reconstructs the urban landscape of Sanxingdui, once among the largest Bronze Age metropolises in East Asia. Visitors will witness the grandeur of this ancient city, which housed both modest dwellings and one of the era’s most significant palatial or ritualistic structures in China. This section will also showcase a vast array of bronze, jade, gold, and pottery objects crafted by the city’s most skilled artisans.
Exploring the religious practices and cosmic understanding of the Sanxingdui people, the third section, “Gods and Shamans at Sanxingdui,” employs advanced technologies to restore bronze altars and statues, recreating the ancient rituals conducted by this civilization. Lastly, “The Origin and Inheritance of Sanxingdui” traces the origins and enduring influence of Sanxingdui, examining how the Sanxingdui culture, along with closely connected civilizations, integrated and influenced each other over time, forming the distinct “diversity in unity” pattern seen in Chinese civilization. The exhibition also acknowledges a century of achievements in modern Chinese archaeology, summarizing the remarkable archaeological discoveries and research in ancient Sichuan.