Why is Gansu Provincial Museum special
Located in the provincial capital of Lanzhou, Gansu Provincial Museum is the biggest comprehensive museum in the province. The Museum's predecessor is the Science Education Hall of Gansu built in 1939. After several name changes, the Museum got its present name in 1956 and was opened to public in 1958.
With 7,500 square meters of exhibition space, the Museum mainly features five exhibition halls: the Hall of Gansu Historical Relics, the Hall of Gansu Natural Resources, the Hall of Jiayuguan Murals of Wei and Jin Period, the Hall of the Yellow River Ancient Elephants, and the Hall of Red Army's Long March via Gansu.
The Hall of Historical Relics exhibits about 1,500 items of unearthed relics including painted pottery bowls, vessels and agricultural tools, and excavations from the Silk Road of the Han (206BC-220AD) and Tang (618-907) periods. The unearthed pottery objects bear the patterns of birds, frogs, flowers or leaves. Among them, pottery vessels of Majiayao Culture excavated from the region of the Yellow River Valley are the best. Geometric motifs like parallel lines, circles, crosses, and spirals were used; The Hall of Natural Resources exhibits about 1,380 items of real objects as well as models, introducing knowledge on Gansu's population, nationality, transportation, climate, animals and plants resources, etc.; The Hall of Jiayuguan Murals of Wei and Jin Period (220-420) displays over 60 murals on the tomb bricks mainly depicting the daily life of the aristocrats, laboring scenes of the common people, and imperial life. The colorings are well-preserved and still very vivid; The Hall of the Yellow River Ancient Elephants exhibits a 4-meter-tall and 8-meter-long fossil of the Yellow River Xiphodon mammoth, which is the largest and best-preserved remains of its kind in the world; The last hall contains revolutionary relics of the Long March, including pictures, documents, and real objects, etc.
Gansu Provincial Museum Highlights
The most famous piece in the collection of Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) bronzes is the Galloping Horse of Wuwei that is accompanied by an impressive array of chariots and carriages.
Galloping Horse, also named as Galloping Horse's Hoof Stepped on a Flying Swallow is a treasure of Gansu Provincial Museum. Excavated in 1969 in Wuwei County, the piece depicts a vigorous horse with long tail waving and head perking. Its three hooves are in the air, galloping like lightening. What makes this sculpture amazing is the right back hoof of this galloping horse lands on the back of a small flying bird. The bird turns in surprise to look at the big creature on its back. At the same moment, the horse's head also turns slightly in attempt to know what has happened. The whole statue is honored as the mysterious and rare treasure in the history of Chinese ancient sculpture art.