The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is located in the north of China, spanning nearly 30 degrees of longitude from east to west. Within a long and narrow area of millions of square kilometers, there are not only vast and magnificent grasslands, but also mountains, lakes, basins, and deserts, including the vast Gobi. The Great Wall, stretching from east to west, witnessed the collision and integration of the farming culture of the Central Plains and the nomadic culture of the grasslands, which formed the famous“Great Wall Zone”. The Great Wall Zone is located in a climate transition zone, a transition zone of nomadic and farming production methods, as well as a special cultural zone. It was of great significance to the formation and development of theChinese nation’s pattern of unity in diversity.
In the Neolithic Period, the ethnic groups in northern China utilized a mixed economy dominated by agriculture and supplemented by animal husbandry and hunting. Around 3,500 years ago, affected by the dry and cold climate, people living on the grasslands gradually developed a lifestyle of migrating to wherever grass and waterwere available. The Qin and Han dynasties unified the Central Plains while the Xiongnu rose in the north, and wars broke out between the Han people and the Xiongnu. The wars which lasted for hundreds of years not only accelerated ethnic integration in China, but also set off the prelude of the great ethnic migration covering Europe and Asia. Following these great conflicts, the Xianbei moved south from the Greater Khingan Range and established the Northern Wei Dynasty. During the Tang and Song dynasties, the Tujue, Huihe and Khitan successively controlled the Mongolian region.In the 13th century, the Mongolian cavalry swept across Europe and Asia and exerted a far-reaching impact on the world. During the Qing Dynasty, Mongolians and other ethnic groups from the grasslands gradually integrated into the Chinese nation. With the continuous rise and fall of ethnic groups in the north, the grassland civilization and the Central Plains civilization collided, interacted and merged, writing a vibrant and colorful chapter in the history of Chinese civilization. Many ethnic groups from the grasslands have faded over the ages, but they each integrated into the great family of the Chinese nation, and their culture and art became an integral part of Chinese culture.
The exhibition A Homeland Straddling the Great Wall: An Exhibition of Selected Inner Mongolian Cultural Relics is jointly held by the National Museum of China, the Culture and Tourism Department of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the Cultural Relics Bureau of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This exhibition is divided into three sections. Through the display of over 240 fine cultural relics, it systematically reveals the cultural exchanges, integration and sublimation of farming and nomadic cultures in Inner Mongolia over thousands of years, showing the historical process of the formation and development of the Chinese nation’s unity in diversity.
Cultural identity is the most profound identity, the root of national unity and the soul of national harmony. We sincerely hope that this exhibition can guide audiences to understand the history and culture of the integration and development of the many ethnic groups of Inner Mongolia, truly feel the historical lineage of China’s unity in diversity, and build a strong sense of community within the Chinese nation.