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The Hunan Provincial Museum

China has more than 2,000 museums at the national, provincal and city levels. In the past few years many private museums have opened in various parts of the country. The museums are of great varieties and their sponsors are from different social strata. Even the 12 provinces and autonomous regions in comparatively poor west China boast more than 400 museums of various kinds, ending the situation on which the museums were concentrated in medium-sized and large cities in central and east China.

The Hunan Provincial Museum is situated in Changsha City, Hunan Province in central China and is one of the historical and artistic one at the provincial level. It covers an area of 50,000 square meters with a floor space of 20.000 square meters. Its construction started in March 1951 and completed and opened to the public in February 1956. Today the museum contains a collection of more than 110,000 objects, mainly of which are bronzes from the Shang and Zhou dynasties and lacquer ware from the State of Chu.

After the Mawangdui Han Tomb was found in 1972, the museum built a 10,000 square- meter theme exhibition hall lot displaying more than 3,000 rare relics and corpse excavated from the three Han tombs in Mawangdui, The T-shaped silk picture found in the Mawangdui No. 1 Han Tomb is 2.05 meters long. supposedly a brinier for the soul. It describes the voyage from the dead to the next world. Twenty-eight long-lost ancient silk books were unearthed in the Mawangdui No. 3 Han Tomb, most of which are of great medicinal, astronomical, philosophical and historical values, including Laozi, The Book of Changes, Political Strategists of the War- ring States Period, Prognostications Related to the Five Planets, Prognostications Related to the Astronomy and Meteorology, and Prescriptions for Fifty-Two Kinds of Diseases. The cultural relics unearthed in the Mawangdui Han Tombs in Changsha and other rare relics have been exhibited in Hong Kong and other parts of the country and even in Japan, the United States and other countries and regions and received high appreciation from Chinese and foreign viewers.

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