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Western Han Nanyue Kings Tomb Museum

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The Western Han Nanyue King's Tomb Museum is situated on the Jiefang North Road of Guangzhou, on the Xianggang Hill which is to the west of Yuexiu Park. The tomb is so far the largest color-painting stone tomb of Southern China. The Tomb was buried 20 meters (65.6 feet) below the Xianggang Hill and there are seven chambers. It was discovered in June 1983 and has been considered as one of the five top archaeological discoveries of China during these years. 

The whole museum occupies an area of 14,000 square meters (16,744 square yards), with the tomb as the center. The three-floor building to the east of the tomb is the Comprehensive Exhibition Building and the two-floor Main Exhibition Building lies in the north. These three constructions are connected as a whole by corridors. There are altogether 10 exhibition halls which cover an area of over 4,800 square meters (5,741 square yards). It is a nice place for visitor to learn the history of Guangzhou and it has been selected as one of the 80 world famous museums. 

The tomb is actually the tomb of Zhao Mo, who was the grandson of the founding father of Nanyue Kingdom - Zhao Tuo. The Nanyue Kingdom (203 BC - 111 BC) was a vassal state established in southern China area during the Western Han Dynasty. In 214 BC when the Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified the whole nation he set up three counties in Southern China, namely the Guilin County, Xiang County and Nanhai County. And current Guangzhou was the capital city of that region. After the downfall of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC), Zhao Tuo, the governor of Nanhai County launched a battle and annexed the other two counties. Thus he founded the Nanyue Kingdom. After lasting for five generations of emperors, the kingdom was defeated by the powerful troops led by Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty.    

Having a history of more than 2,000 years, the tomb was built with 750 huge stones. Wooden boards were paved at the bottom of the chamber. Walls of the chambers were built with flagstone. The whole coffin chamber looks very huge and is separated by two stone gates. Inside the tomb, visitors can see the Jade Burial Suit was specially designed for the king's corpse. Stretching 1.73 meters (1.89 yards) in length, the garment was made up of 2,291 pieces of jade with silk thread. The custom to dress the dead in jade originated from the belief that jade could keep the corpse from getting rotted off. Of the tens of burial garments found in China, this one was the earliest produced in history. 

In the museum there were over 1,000 funeral objects, of which mainly are jade articles and bronze vessels. Those jade articles with delicate carvings were considered as great master pieces of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD); meanwhile the bronze wares with the cultural features of Han, Chu and Yue are rare treasures. Additionally, there are also a few pottery or porcelain pillows of the period from the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) to Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368) on display. 

 Entrance Fee: CNY 12 (CNY 5 for students)

 Opening Hours: 09: 00 - 17:30 (visitors are suggested to enter before 16:45)

A. Take Bus No. 7, 29, 33, 203, 211, 273, 552 or 543 and get off at Jiefang Beilu stop;
B. Take Bus No. 21, 108, 110, 519, 528, 555 or 556 and get off at Yuexiu Park stop;
C. Take Subway Line 2 and get off at Yuexiu Park station, and exit from Exit E.

 More Top Tourist Attractons in Guangzhou:
Yuexiu Park                     Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 
Guangxiao Temple          Ancestral Temple of Chen Family

Questions & Answers on Western Han Nanyue Kings Tomb Museum
  • I would like to know how diffirence about the Nanyue Palace Garden and Nanyue Tomb and Nanyue Palace Musuem. Please help me explain it.
    We could like go to visit Nanyue Palace garden on Oct. Do you have any information about this destination.
    Thank you for your help.

    Asked By Thanh Nguyen (United States) | Aug. 13, 2010 17:07
    1 AnswerAnswer Question
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