Capital Museum (首都博物馆)

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The Capital Museum was established in 1981 with a collection of some 83,000 objects

Information on this page last updated:2016-11-23 17:34:51

Admission: Free
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Closed on Mondays)
Phone: +86 10 63370440/63370491
Best Time to Visit: All Year
Recommended Time for a Visit: 4 Hours

Description

The Capital Museum is an art museum in Beijing, China. It opened in 1981 and moved into its present building in 2006, which houses a large collection of ancient porcelain, bronze, calligraphy, painting, jade, sculpture, and Buddhist statues from imperial China as well as other Asian cultures. Part of the museum’s collections was formerly housed in the Confucius Temple on Guozijian Road in Beijing. The Beijing Capital Museum today contains over 200,000 cultural relics in its collection, only a small fraction of it are exhibited, and a significant percentage of the museum's art collection came from artifacts unearthed in Beijing.

The Capital Museum was established in 1981 with a collection of some 83,000 objects. Although the museum pales in comparison to the visitors received in other major art museums in Beijing, such as the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City, the National Museum of China, and the National Art Museum of China; it has since then become one of the leading cultural institutions in the city, with the first five months of 2007 receiving more than 166,000 visitors. The present Capital Museum's building's massive roof and the gradient at the entrance square was influenced by the design from ancient Chinese architecture, and the stone-made exterior wall was meant to symbolize imagery of the city walls and towers in ancient China. A piece of danbi (a massive stone carved with images of dragon, phoenix and imperial artifacts) is embedded on the ground in front of the north gate of the museum, whereas a decorative archway from the Ming Dynasty is set in the recreational hall in which shows the "central axis" feature that are commonly seen in Chinese architecture. The Bronze Exhibition Hall, which has an oval-shape, was also meant to symbolize the unearthing of ancient relics by its slanting design in which extends from the ground to the exterior of the museum.

Featured Attractions:

Fine Collection Display: It occupies seven exhibition halls in both main and the oval exhibition halls. Porcelain wares, bronzes, calligraphy works, paintings, jades, Buddha statues, exquisite artworks in study room, and folklore of old Beijing are displayed.

A Glimpse of Treasures Exhibits of Buddha statues (Hall E1, the fourth floor, square exhibition hall): Altogether, 262 Tibetan and Han Buddha statues are on display here, most of which are displayed to the public for the first time. You will learn the history of Buddha statues' development and revolution in Tibetan regions and in Han regions.

Exhibits of porcelain wares (Hall E1, the fourth floor, square exhibition hall): Porcelain wares exhibited here were excavated or handed over when the city served as the capital in the historic period. The exhibition focuses on porcelain wares of the Song (960-1279), Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. There are altogether 170 pieces and sets of porcelains. An exquisite blue-and-white globular-shape porcelain vase with under-glazed red and emblazoned with dragon, cloud and wave on display was estimated to be worth ten million in RMB in 2000."

Exhibits of paintings (Hall H, the second floor, round exhibition hall): Over 50 traditional Chinese paintings are on display. Paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasties are central to the exhibition. Famous paintings include the Students of Confucius, the Eighty-seven Gods and the Spring in South China.

Exhibits of calligraphy works (Hall I, the third floor, round exhibition hall): Calligraphic works of the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties are on display. They can be divided into two categories: works of the famous calligraphy artists and those of royal family members. In total, 53 pieces and sets of calligraphy work are exhibited including inscriptions of the ode to the god of Luo River by Wang Xianzhi in Kai (regular script) character in Jin Dynasty, the calligraphy works of poems of plum blossom by Huang Tingjian in cursive writing in Song Dynasty, the Emperor Kangxi's and of Qianlong's calligraphic works.

Exhibits of bronzes (Hall J, the fourth floor, round exhibition hall): Altogether, 132 pieces and sets of bronzes are on display; these can be divided into two groups according to their historical periods (the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC - 771 BC) or Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770BC-221BC)) they belong to. This exhibition demonstrates the delicate craftsmanship and the long history of the bronzes of the culture.

Exhibits of jades (Hall K, the fifth floor, round exhibition hall): Over 180 pieces of jades show the jade's brief development. Many items of jades on display were unearthed from the noblemen's graves, and with rein-marks and the emperors' poems carved in. Among all the exhibits, the imperial jade seal of Qian Long (the fourth emperor of Qing Dynasty) has drawn the most attention. This white jade seal with circularly carved dragon was made in 1791 for Qian Long's eightieth birthday. It was the emperor's private seal, and used to be stamped on the emperor's many famous calligraphic works and paintings.

Exquisite artworks in study room (Hall L, the sixth floor, the oval exhibition hall): The writing brush, the ink, the ink stone and the paper are collectively called the Four Treasures of the study. They are the first part of the exquisite artworks in the study room, and are served as the main content of this exhibition. The second part of the exhibits comprises mainly of small objects in the study room such as brush-holders, brush-racks, paperweights, sandalwood burners and seals. The study room furniture is the third part of the exhibits. A total of almost 150 pieces and sets of artworks are displayed here, including the imperial ink stick with the Emperor Qian Long's rein-mark, the Four Famous Ink Stones in China, and the bamboo brush-holder carved with Belvederes in a Landscape from the Ming Dynasty.

Map

Address: No. 16, Fuxingmenwai Street, Xicheng District, Beijing

Transportation:

1. Take Subway Line 1 to Muxidi (Exit C1) and walk 530 meters to the museum.

Scenic Pictures