For being a “small” Chinese city of almost 500,000, Qingzhou had a really neat city museum! Located just south of the river that divides the city, adjacent to Fangongting park, the museum includes many artifacts from local archaeological digs. This area of China was the capital of the Qi dynasty around 500 A.D. Royal tombs and grave sites have been discovered full of historic treasures. I must say we were pleasantly surprised by the number of displays and the interesting lay out.
Like many museums, Qingzhou museum takes a chronological look at China, displaying ancient, basic tools and then slowly working forward through history. Along with the chronological displays, there was a painting gallery, a few large stone sculpture and tablet galleries, and a special Buddha exhibit. Since museum posts are always kinda boring, here’s a few pictures of some of my favorite pieces:
Qingzhou museum is definitely not completely handicap/stroller accessible. The exhibits were on the first and second floors of three buildings built into a square shape (the entrance/ gift shop completing the square, all opening up into a center courtyard. There was an elevator in one building, but in order explore the museum in the right order, we ended up toting the stroller up and down a few flights of stairs. It was worth it though- we walked over from our hotel, and Owen fell asleep and napped peacefully while we took in the art and culture. The ceramic figure (left) was part of a huge collection of ceramic figurines of humans and animals that were included in a royal burial pit. It was interesting to see what animals were included in the burial. Throughout the museum, there were a few signs in English, so we knew a little about what we were looking at, but nothing in detail. I’m guessing that English-only visitors don’t come through all that often.
The most notable exhibit in the museum, and my favorite, was the Budda exhibit. I had never seen carved Buddhas with elaborately painted clothing before. Typically the Buddha is all one color- gold or stone or whatever it may be. These Bddhas had colorful clothing and gold accents- it was amazing that they were this well preserved. All of the Buddhas looked so pleasant with their smiles. I like the Chinese smiling Buddhas!
After finishing the chronological journey through the museum (excluding the latest era, which we skipped because Landon was done), we went on to the stone sculpture halls, which were all in one building. There were animal sculptures, but also many stone tablets with writing on them, commemorating battles, war heroes, important scholars and rulers. I thought about how young the USA is compared to China, and how there is nothing comparable to these stone tablets for Americans. Although we could not read the tablets, I thought about how cool it would be to e able to read it and understand the characters that were written over 2,500 years ago!
If you find yourself in Qingzhou, China, take an hour or so and visit the Qingzhou museum. The painted, carved Buddhas are worth it all on their own, but there are many interesting things in their collection. The layout is a little confusing, but just explore every room in every building to catch all of the exhibits. This colorful gate marks the entrance to Fangongting park. It was wonderful to take a walk in the park after visiting the museum.