Hosted by: National Museum of China, Shanxi Culture Relics Bureau
Supported by: Shanxi Museum, Shanxi Museum of Archaeology, Culture and Tourism Bureau of Yuncheng, The People’s Government of Wenxi County
The middle reaches of the Yellow River turn from the north to the east in the southwest of Shanxi Province, marking the cradle of civilization called "Hedong" in ancient times. The Jiuwutou site in Wenxi, Shanxi Province is a cemetery for high-level nobilityfrom the late Shang Dynasty, and is located in this world-renowned cradle of civilization. Archaeological excavations on these important remains of the late Shang period began in August 2017, with the site selected as one of "China’s Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2018." It not only provides valuable new information for understanding the political structure of the Shang Dynasty and the relationship between the Shang and other surrounding forces, but also possessesimportant significance for exploring the historical process of the critical period in the formation of early civilization. It is a major breakthrough in the archaeology of the Shang Dynasty.
The Jiuwutou site is located on the western border of the territory under the rule of the Shang Dynasty, a land rich in salt and copper deposits. The ethnic group represented by the owner of the cemetery played an important role in the protection of the capital and the transportation of resources. They led many local forces in the Hedong area during the late Shang period and left a rich and colorful legacy of bronze civilization among the mountains and rivers. Hundreds of bronze wares, potteries, jades, bone objects and other valuable cultural relics were unearthed from theregion. Among them, there were five large-scale tombs in the shape of the Chinese character "甲" (jia), complete withunderground chambers.The tomb structure, burial customs, combination of implements and ornamentation style all reflect the growing uniformity of Shang culture at that time. The inscriptions of clan badges, or "匿" (ni) on the unearthed bronze wares provide an important marker for the exploration of the traces of the ancient states and cultural origins of the cemetery owners.
"Glory of Hedong: An Exhibition of Archaeological Finds from Jiuwutou, Shanxi Province" hosted by the National Museum of China and the Shanxi Cultural Relics Bureau is the first large-scale public display of the cultural relics unearthed at the Jiuwutou site. More than 170 carefully selected artifacts unearthed from the Jiuwutou site, together with a selection ofartifacts unearthed from the Xiwubi site collected by the National Museum of China, are displayed at this exhibition. It is divided into four sections, namely, "Frontier rites and music," "Worship of wine," "Base of weaponry," and "Decorations of carriages and horses." It presentscombinations of ritual vesselsfrom different perspectives, withdinga representative specimen, as well as unique combinations of drinking vessels, and explores the different cultural forms of war, travel, crafts and music, offering a thorough demonstration of the important archaeological achievements of the Jiuwutou site. At the same time, the exhibition displays the complex scientific process of the archaeological excavation at the Jiuwutou site to audiences through various forms, such as 3D displays of the tomb sites, photos of the archaeological site and video footage of the archaeological excavation.