In 1899, in Xiao Tun Village of Anyang City, Henan Province, villagers found many tortoise shells and bones carved with letters and symbols, which unveiled to the world Yin Xu, an ancient city with a long history and splendid culture. Since then this place has become of great interest to worldwide archeologists, because those inscriptions have proved to be the earliest written characters of human beings, the Oracles.
About 3,300 years ago, one emperor of the Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC) moved his capital city to Yin, which is today’s Anyang city, and since then Yin has been the capital city for more than 250 years. Today Yin Xu has proved to be the earliest remains of an ancient capital city in written record. Covering a grand area of 24 square kilometers (more than 9 square miles), Yin Xu had a palaces district, civil residences district, tombs district and workshops district, divided into two parts by the Heng river in the city. This rational layout clearly shows people a powerful country and a well-equipped ancient city.
The large-scale excavation in Yin Xu has been continued since the last century. Besides the 150, 000 pieces of oracles, abundant bronze ware has been excavated, and among them, Simuwu Ding, a 4-legged bronze cooking vessel is the biggest and heaviest bronze ware ever found worldwide. Apart from oracles and bronze ware, people have also excavated much pottery ware and jade. The excavation is still in progress and great discoveries come forth from time to time. Like a famous archeologist has said, in Yin Xu there are more treasures to be found.
Because of its great value in not only the historical relics of Chinese culture but also the human civilization of the whole world, Yin Xu topped the 100 Greatest Archeological Discoveries of China in the last century and it was listed in the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Yin Xu is revealing its beauty to the world.
Museum on Yin Ruins
OK, everybody. Soon we’ll get to the Museum on Yin Ruins, the best museum for the study of the Yin Shang Culture. Now please listen to me and I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a brief introduction on it.
As you know, China is one of the earliest countries to discover characters. As early as 4,000 years ago, people used bones or tortoise shells to record events of their social life. It is the earliest written form of language in the world. Today we call them the oracle bone inscriptions, which were first discovered in the Yin Ruins.
Speak of the Yin Ruins, it is at Xiaotun Village of Anyang City. In ancient times, Xiaotun was called Yin and it was the capital of the Shang Dynasty. So the period was also called Yin Shang. After the Yin had been overthrown, the city declined and the remains of it was later called the Yin Ruins.
The Yin Ruins is famous for three things,i.e.the oracle inscriptions, the bronze wares and the ancient capital of the Shang Dynasty.
Since the founding of new China, the Yin Ruins had been listed as the first group of cultural relics under national protection. In order to preserve its culture, the government built “Garden of the Yin Ruins” on the site. Today the garden is divided into several sections with ancient objects on display.
Next ,let’s come to the main hall where the oracle inscriptions are exhibited. I’ll talk something more about the oracle bone inscriptions. The oracle bone inscriptions were first discovered during the years of Emperor Guang Xu, in the Qing Dynasty. Then 15 important archaeological excavations were carried out within 10 years, and more than 16,000 pieces of bones and shells were found. But in the Shang Dynasty, they were used as divinations , when people were very superstitious. The inscriptions cover a wide range of fields, such as sacrifice, wars, state affairs, weather, hunting, etc. Today, they provide important information for the study of the Shang Dynasty. And the study of the oracle bone inscriptions has become a new subject and is getting more popular among people.
Apart from the oracle bone inscriptions, bronze wares are another important part of the cultural relics discovered from the Ruins, which show that the technology of bronze casting reached its peak in the Shang Dynasty. The bronze wares include vessels, weapons,chariots and so on. Of all the unearthed wares, “Simuwu Ding” is the largest bronze ware in the world. It is elegant in appearance and intricately carved in patterns, showing the peak of bronze casting technology in the Shang Dynasty.
Finally we come to the side of the imperial palaces and tombs. The site of the imperial palaces lies on the north of the Xiaotun village, to the south bank of Henghe river. In 1976 near the site the the imperial palaces archaeologists found the tomb of the first woman general in Chinese history.
Tomb of Fu Hao.FuHao was Emperor Wu Ding’s wife,both intelligent and courageous. She had bravely led the Yin army fighting in many wars and made great contributions to the protecting of the country. After her death, Wu Ding built a large tomb near the palace to honor her merits. Buried together with her were many slaves and war prisoners as well as 1,928 sacrificial objects. Tomb of Fu Hao is the only well-preserved tomb unearthed so far in the Yin Rains. The large numbers of sacrificial objects are valuable cultural relics in the treasure house of Chinese art.
Moreover, there are some other precious ancient articles displayed in the museum, people who are interested in the Yin Shang Culture will gain a lot from our visiting.
Well, OK. So much for the introduction. Here we are, the Yin Ruins. Please get ready your stuff and then dismount the bus. We’ll begin our terrific visiting. I’m sure you’ll enjoy a splendid experience here. Have a good time. Thank you