Sanxingdui (Three-Star Piles) Museum

Sanxingdui Museum is located in Northeast of Sanxingdu archeological site, west of the famous cultural city of Guanghan, on the bank of Jian River (commonly called Yazi River), 40 kilometers (about 24.9 miles) north of Chengdu City. Covering an exhibition area of 4,000 square meters (about 1544.4 square miles), and opened in October 1997 this is an archeological museum with excellent modern facilities. The cultural relics in the museum were mostly unearthed from the Sanxingdui site. In order to know about the museum we should know more about the Sanxingdui site.

Sanxingdui is a cultural relic of the ancient Shu (Sichuan). It is an important archeological discovery which changed the people's understanding of ancient history and culture. If you want to visit a place to know more about Chinese Shu (Sichuan) culture, make it this one, for the civilization shown by the cultural relics can be called a true wonder.

The pictures exhibited in the museumSanxingdui refers to three earth mounds at the site. Hence the site found here is called Sanxingdui Relic. The Relic area stretches for about 12 square kilometers (about 4.6 square miles), which is the largest, oldest, and most connotative Shu cultural relic in Sichuan. It is said that the Heavenly Emperor cast down three handfuls of earth which fell near the Jian River and became three earth mounds on Chengdu Plain. The three earth piles, described as three golden stars in a line, hence became known as Sanxingdui (three-star piles). Now affirmed by modern archaeology, the three earth mounds of the Sanxingdui Relic are in reality the southern wall of an ancient city that was built of earth. There are two breaches in the city wall, after the collapse and subsequent erosion; it became the three mounds we see today.

The discovery of the Sanxingdui Relic was a lucky chance. In the spring of 1929, a peasant found a piece of bright-colored jade whilst he was digging ditch. That was the catalyst to the discovery of a mysterious ancient kingdom; subsequently, more than 400 jade items were excavated. Later, from 1933, systematic excavations and archeological work of Sanxingdui Relic continued for half a century. The evidence of the excavation shows the development from late Neolithic Age (7000 BC-5000 BC) through to the late Shang (16th - 11th century BC) and early Zhou Period (11th century BC - 711 BC).A statue in the museumSanxingdui Relic, with more than 3,000-year history might even be the capital of ancient Shu. And this discovery uncovered the veiling of Shu and padded the blankness of bronze culture in Chinese archaeological history. In the following decades, several generations of archaeologists worked in succession on the Sanxingdui site and achieved a lot, especially the two sacrificial pits found in 1986. With more than 1000 cultural relics unearthed, including a 142-centimeter (about 55.9 inches) long and 500-gram (about 31 drams) golden staff, a golden veiled head portrait, a 260-centimeter (about 102.4 inches) tall and 180-kilogram (about 396.8 pounds) bronze figure, also a big bronze mask with more than 10 centimeters (about 3.9 inches) bulging pupils and two ears spaced at 168 centimeters (about 66.1 inches) and a big Yuzhang (a kind of jade adornment of the leader of a tribe, the symbol of power). Some cultural relics are apotheosized and mysterious, some are realistic, and some primitive simplicity but all of them are very impressive, which aroused worldwide attention.


In order to well preserve and display the cultural relics, the Sanxingdui Museum laid the foundation in 1992 and opened in October, 1997. The museum is divided into four sections, displayed more than 1000 pieces of cultural relics from Sanxingdui Relic and the two sacrificial pits of Shang Period, including gold plate, bronze ware, jade articles, pottery and ivory. Each of the four sections has its own theme.

Section 1 Splendor of Ancient Shu Culture.
The section is divided into five units. The first unit outlines the history of the ancient Shu and introduced the background of the ancient Shu. The next four units reflected skill, replica breitling watches imagination and technical achievements of the Shu people through their handicraft techniques.

Section 2 Mystery of the Primitive Faith
The exhibition in this section focuses on one topic, human and divinity. It adopted the imitative real scene to show the mental world of Shu people.

Section 3 Exquisite Cultural Artifacts
More than 10 groups of cultural relics exhibited here are the soul treasures that symbolize the Shu people's ever lasting spirit.

Some pots unearthed                             Jade tools

Section 4 Sanxingdui: Excavation and Study
This section is a scientific display that introduced the impact of the Sanxingdui Relic overseas, the discovery and excavation of the site, the vital position of Sanxingdui Relic in academic study, to reflect all facets of Sanxingdui Relic.

For the swarms of tourists all year around, a new Exhibition Hall was opened on May Day in 2004, covering an exhibition area of 7,000 square meters. The exhibition in this hall is mainly a complex display of jade articles, gold fake rolex watches plate and pottery, with the old Exhibition Hall specializing in bronze wares.

Sanxingdui Relic is the spiritual homeland of the ancient Shu people and the Sanxingdui Museum is the place for modern people to meet the ancient Shu.

Admission Fee: CNY 80
Transportation Bus from the New South Gate Bus Station of Chengdu to Sanxingdui or bus from almost every big bus station to Guanghan, and then take bus No. 1 or No. 6 to Sanxingdui
Recommended time for a visit Three or Four Hours
Opening Hours: 8:30-17:30