Hainan Provincial Museum, a window to Hainan’s rich history
Hainan, China’s tropical island province in the South China Sea has a long history of human inhabitants that dates back 6,000 years. The Haikou Museum traces this history back to the Qing dynasty with its vast collection of art and historic artefacts.
The Museum was established in 1984 and relocated to Hainan Cultural Park in 2008 and attracts visitors from all over the island and Mainland China with its collection of over two million relics and cultural treasures.
The Museum holds regular exhibitions that centre around Hainan’s history, ethnic minorities, cultural heritage and cultural relics, with Xisha artefacts recovered from underwater as well as historical relics from Hainan’s indigenous Li and Miao minorities.
Aside from being admired for it’s magnificent architecture, the museum in Hainan’s capital is the largest on the island, and holds a range of Chinese art including bronze sculptures, calligraphy, porcelain and paintings.
Close to five of Haikou’s official temples, the museum is built over spacious grounds with ten large exhibition halls dedicated to a particular style or period of Hainan art.
Of particular interest are the ancient bronze artefacts, including ritual vessels, weapons, horse harnesses and musical instruments. These are known throughout China for their high artistic skill, technical excellence and intricate symbolic patterns and forms.
A separate room in the museum holds antique Chinese paintings on silk and paper scrolls, made by Chinese masters of various eras who lived on the island.
Then there is a room dedicated to the traditional burial rituals of the island, with sculptural figures that support deceased servants and soldiers. Visitors can also learn about the island’s Buddhist culture with detail from the island’s Buddhist temples and cave monasteries.
One exhibition contains ceramics and porcelain that reflect different periods of the island’s history, presented amongst other artefacts including lacquers, bamboo, wood and bone carvings, sculptures and household items. Here visitors can also find a special section dedicated to embroideries and fabrics of the Ming and Qing dynasties, including some that date back to the 2nd millennium BC.
The Hainan Provincial Museum is located on Guoxing Road, adjacent to the Provincial Library and the Provincial Arts and Culture Centre. A tour of the museum can take a whole day. The Museum is open from 9-5 every day except Monday.
To get to the Hainan Provincial Museum, take bus 43, 45 or 33 from downtown Haikou, or take a taxi for less than CNY20 each way. From the Sanya city you can travel to Haikou in just 82 minutes on the new High Speed Bullet Train.
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