Sanxingdui Museum

Located at the city of Guanghan, 40 km from Chengdu, Sanxingdui Museum is recognized as the most important ancient remains of the Sichuan region for its vast size, long lasting period and rich cultural heritages. Sanxingdui site has the most complete east, west, south city wall and the inner city wall of the Moon Bay. It is known as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of human beings in the 20th century, and honored as “the source of Yangtze River Civilization”. 

Most of the unearthed cultural relics in Sanxingdui were used for sacrifice. The unique and exquisite shapes make it hard for you to imagine that people in thousands years ago could make these things. Even experts can’t explain how the ancient Shu people did it. Although Sanxingdui Museum is little far from the downtown area of Chengdu, it is really worth to visit and it will be a highlight of your Chengdu trip.

the exterior view of Sanxingdui Museum

Sanxingdui Cultural Relics Facts

-Chinese Name: 三星堆博物馆

-Location: South Bank of Yazi River, Guanghan City, Sichuan

-Time Needed: 2 hours

-Opening Hours: 8:30-17:00

-Best Seasons: All year around 

-Entrance Fee: CNY82 

The Excavation History 

Sanxingdui were first discovered by a farmer in 1929 when he digs a ditch in his field. Since then more than 10,000 relics, some of which date back 3,000 to 5,000 years, have been unearthed. The excavations have yielded what are considered some of the most significant archaeological discoveries in China last century. But up to now they remain a mystery as no texts have been found about it, nor is there any mention of this culture in the records of other states, either during or after the late Shang Dynasty (1600-1100 B. C.). 

Archaeologists believe the Sanxingdui Ruins, located on the upper reach of the Yangtze River, were home to a few settlements with distinctive cultural features. Jade ware with unique characteristics and made using relatively advanced technology was discovered on the site, suggesting that one of the earliest settlements to live in the area about 3,700 to 5,000 years ago interacted with the groups living on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. 

The people who made splendid bronze ware in Sanxingdui 3,000 years ago created a dominant power in the Ancient Shu Kingdom. That did not live in isolation, but had extensive relationship with central and eastern part of the country. The Sanxingdui Ruins serve as convincing proof that the origins of Chinese civilization are divers. Before the excavation of Sanxingdui, it was believed that Sichuan had a history of about 3,000 years. It is now generally recognized that civilized culture appeared in Sichuan about 5,000 years ago. 

Through the future excavations, archaeologists expect to solve such mysteries as where are raw material for the bronze came from and when and why the civilization disappeared.

the bronze mask at Sanxingdui Museum

What to See at Sanxingdui Museum

Sanxingdui cultural relics are precious cultural heritages of human being. Among these ancient Shu treasures there are a variety of bizarre and unique shaped bronzes, such as the 2.62 meters high standing human statue, the 1.38 meters wide bronze mask and the 3.95 meters high bronze tree, they are all treasures unparalleled. 

Sanxingdui Museum consists of two galleries with an exhibition area of nearly 12,000 square meters. The gallery one is a comprehensive hall which displaying gold, copper, jade, stone, pottery and other cultural relics, the gallery two is bronze ware hall. The grand scale exhibitions and layout demonstrate the profound connotation of Sanxingdui cultural relics and the splendid civilization of Sanxingdui. 

Gallery one: Three Stars Accompany the Moon-Splendid Ancient Shu Civilization

Gallery one displays all kinds of cultural relics, such as gold, copper, jade, stone and pottery relics. It introduces the history and brilliant achievements of ancient Shu in all fields. The main item on display of this hall is the panoramic hanging screen of Sanxingdui site, an odd-shaped celestial beast is the main sculpture of the Gallery one. 

Gallery two: Three Stars Shine Forever-Mysterious Bronze Kingdom

Gallery two is a specialized bronze gallery, and the human head and bird figure shaped bronze statue is the landmark sculpture of the bronze gallery. Trough successively combination of scenes introduce group of bronze images and mysterious ancient Shu sculptures.  

How to Get to Sanxingdui Museum

1. Bus: Take bus no. 1, 7, 45, 63, 69, 70, 71, 83, 302 to Zhaojuesi (Zhaojue Temple) Station, and then take regular bus to Guanghan City. After arrival, take bus no. 6 to Sanxingdui Museum, or take bus no.10 to Sanxingdui.

2. Train: Take a bullet train from Chengdu East Rail Station to Guanghan North, and then take a taxi to the museum.

3. Private car: Easy Tour China can arrange private Chengdu tour to Sanxingdui Museum which will be more comfortable and convenient.

More Attractions in Chengdu

  • Jinsha Cultural Relics Museum
  • Dujiangyan Irrigation Project
  • Bifengxia Panda Base
  • Mt. Emei