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Sichuan Strives for Higher-level Cultural Relics Research, Interpretation, Exhibition and Publicity
Updated:2022.06.09

In mid-June, important results from the new round of archaeological excavations in the sacrificial area of Sanxingdui Site will be revealed. A large number of bronze wares unprecedentedly seen in China will once again prove the cultural diversity of Chinese civilization.

Sichuan, Land of Abundance, has a profound history and splendid culture. The mysterious bronze civilization of Sanxingdui will once again shock the world. The ruins of Luojiaba, Chengba and other sites demonstrate the Ba Culture featuring bravery and rusticity. Sansu Shrine, Du Fu Thatched Cottage, Wuhou Shrine and other historic sites are well known across China. In recent years, Sichuan has strengthened the protection and utilization of cultural relics and the protection and inheritance of cultural heritage, and striven to improve its level of cultural relics research, interpretation, exhibition and publicity. The "revived" cultural heritage has become a unique cultural manifestation of Sichuan and will help turn the province into one with cultural strength. 

Explore the depths of history and unveil the "ancient Sichuan" of profoundness 

At the end of this March, China's Top 10 New Archaeological Discoveries of 2021 were announced in Beijing. Sichuan's Piluo Site in Daocheng and the sacrificial area of Sanxingdui Site in Guanghan were included. The significance of archaeology lies in the exploration into the unknown and the origin. The inclusion of the two sites embodies Sichuan's efforts in exploring the 1-million-year-long human history, 10,000-year-long cultural history and 5,000-year-long history of civilization based on archeological work. 

In Daocheng County of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Piluo Site, 3,750 meters above sea level on the plateau, has been there for at least 130,000 years. In 2020, archaeologists discovered the site during a field study of the Palaeolithic period, and with such important findings as the Acheulean hand axe, proved that humans had conquered the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 130,000 years ago, which forcefully refuted Western archaeologists' conclusion that "the East lags behind the West in early human culture". "Piluo Site is undoubtedly of great value to enhancing our self-confidence in culture," blurted Gao Xing, director of the Special Committee of China for Paleolithic Archaeology. After the completion of the archaeological excavation at Piluo Site, the plan for building a park there will be implemented to showcase the feat of prehistoric humans conquering the plateau. 

A large number of exquisite bronze wares have been unveiled in No. 8 pit of the sacrificial area of Sanxingdui Site. Zhao Hao, an associate professor at the School of Archaeology and Museology of Peking University, said that a figure holding an ancient drinking vessel on its head and with the body of a snake has been found from No. 8 pit. "Although the object has never been seen before in China, that the figure holds a drinking vessel from the Central Plains is a witness to the Chinese civilization featuring unity in diversity." It indicates the highest value of the archaeological excavation at Sanxingdui, and proves that the Chinese civilization in its origin and early development stage was diverse and unique. The large number of bronze statues and lei (an ancient urn-shaped wooden wine-vessel) from the Central Plains and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, as well as the exquisite cultural relics such as cong (a jade tube with quadrilateral exteriors) and zhang (jade tablet-shaped vessel), have evidenced the interaction and exchanges between civilizations in different regions of China, and the Chinese civilization as with diversity in unity. 

The exploration into Ba Culture has never stopped as the development of the ancient Shu civilization has been gradually figured out. In recent years, archaeologists have found the ruins of "Dangqu City" that existed in the Han Dynasty at the Chengba Site in Quxian County, and a great many high-level tombs at the Luojiaba Site. The various unearthed cultural relics and ruins have not only contributed to the research on Ba Culture, but also become a key driving force for the construction of heritage parks and museums on Ba Culture locally. 

In the future, archaeological work will be continued at the sites from prehistoric times on the Chengdu Plain to trace the origin of Chinese civilization. Important archaeological achievements will be announced for the late Ming battlefield site in Jiangkou Town (dissolved) of Pengshan, and the exploration into early and middle stages of the Neolithic period in Sichuan has also begun. "Ancient Sichuan" with profound historical and cultural background will continue to show its grandeur and extensiveness. 

Create a window that transcends time and space for exchanges to make the charm of archeology and public enthusiasm reinforce each other

"The underground main structure of the project was capped 40 days ahead of schedule." On June 5, Li Wenbo, project manager of the new Sanxingdui Museum in Guanghan, said at the construction site that the new Sanxingdui Museum built to the world-class standards is expected to make its public debut at the end of 2023. 

The profound historical and cultural heritage provides strong support for Sichuan to carry forward the best of traditional Chinese culture and to advance culture-tourism integration. 

In March 2021, the sacrificial area of Sanxingdui Site released the archaeological excavation achievements. The "reawakening" of Sanxingdui has amazed the world, attracting a massive influx of visitors from all over the country to Sanxingdui Museum. According to Zhu Yarong, Deputy Curator of Sanxingdui Museum, in 2021, the museum recorded 1.4685 million visits, and its ticket revenue and sales of cultural and creative products topped 100 million yuan, reaching a record high. The new Sanxingdui Museum will not only be a window to display the ancient Shu civilization, but also an important practice for exploring culture-tourism integration in the construction of Sanxingdui National Cultural Relic Protection and Utilization Demonstration Area. 

Besides Sanxingdui, Sichuan boasts many other popular tourist attractions, such as Sansu Shrine in Meishan, and Wuhou Shrine and Du Fu Thatched Cottage in Chengdu.

Chengdu Wuhou Shrine Museum is the only shrine for shared worship of an emperor and his courtier in China. The related stories have remained their popularity till today, involving the courtier Zhuge Liang's selfless dedication of giving his all till his heart ceases to beat and the eagerness of Emperor Zhaolie (Liu Bei) of Shu Han to seek talent, which is reflected by paying three visits to the thatched cottage of Zhuge Liang. Chengdu Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum was rebuilt on the foundation of the old thatched cottage that had been blown down by autumn winds. It has become an iconic attraction in the scenic area. The museum, together with its surrounding gardens, has won high praise from Feng Zhi, a modern poet. He said, "About Du Fu, people may make no mention of where he was born and died but they always remember Chengdu's thatched cottage where he once lived in." 

As Sichuan is implementing the project of inheriting the culture related to eminent persons in the province's history, Meishan's Sansu Shrine Museum has become another business card to showcase the increasing popularity of the city's culture and tourism. According to Le Monde, a French newspaper that has selected 12 global millennial heroes (1001-2000), Su Dongpo was the only Chinese on the list. A few years ago, Pierre, a journalist who wrote the chapter of Su Dongpo for the newspaper, made a special trip to Meishan to participate in the Dongpo Cultural Festival and visited Sansu Shrine. He said that Su Dongpo has become his "friend on a spiritual level". 

In the future, Sichuan will also display and introduce the historical background of the province in various ways. The stage play Su Dongpo created by Sichuan People's Art Theatre was selected as the Communication, Exchange, and Promotion Subsidy Project of China National Arts Fund in 2022. A new round of touring performances will show Su Dongpo's charisma to the audience nationwide. The Promotion Event of Ancient Shu Civilization will be launched in Macao. In addition, a new round of archaeological excavation achievements in the sacrificial area of Sanxingdui Site will also be broadcast live on CCTV again. At that time, the reawakening of ancient Shu civilization represented by Sanxingdui will once again amaze the world.

 
 
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