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Home > Attractions > Cultural

Western Han Nanyue King Tomb Museum

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Located on Jiefang Bei Road, Guangzhou, the Western Han Dynasty Nanyue King Mausoleum Museum is the oldest and largest Han tomb with the most funerary objects in Lingnan (South of the Nanling Mountain) Area. As one of the 80 famous museums in the world, the museum covers 14,000 square meters (150, 699.6 square feet) with 10 exhibition halls.

The mausoleum of the second Nanyue King was discovered by chance in June in 1983 at a construction site in the Xianggang Hill in Guangdong province. The State Council authorized excavation of the mausoleum in October in the same year. The Museum was built on the same location as the tomb site. The display of the Museum reflects all-roundly the situation in society, politics, military, economy and culture etc during the time in the Nanyue Kingdom in the western Han Dynasty. It also supplies vivid, full and accurate information to the study in Linnan District during Qin and Han Dynasties.

The owner of the tomb is the second king, Zhao Mei of Nanyue State of the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-24 A.D.). Hidden 20 meters (65.6 feet) underground, the tomb is made up of 750 huge stones with colorful murals. The over 1,000 pieces of cultural relics, bronze ware and terra cotta ware in particular, feature the Yue Culture of south China(Nanyue Culture). Represented also are traces of central Chinese culture, the Chu culture of south China, the Bashu culture of southwest China, the Hun culture from the northern grassland, and even foreign cultures.

Highlighting the mausoleum is a silk-jade garment made up of 2,291 pieces of jade. Though jade garments with pieces connected by gold, silver,聽or聽copper are not uncommon, this garment with jade pieces connected by silk is the only one of its kind in the world. Nor are historical records available to verify other jade garments connected by silk thread. In addition, the style of buttons down the front is unique among unearthed jade garments. This silk-sewn-jade garment shows the early development of jade garments as well as development of the Nanyue culture.

In addition, three sets of bronze serial bells, thirty-six bronze vessels, thirty-six bronze mirrors, and three gold seals give visitors a glimpse of the ancient Nanyue Culture. The oldest and largest folding screen used in China is also here, as are two of the world's oldest bronze patterns for textile stamping.

Foreign articles excavated in the mausoleum indicate that Guangzhou was an ancient Marine Silk Road starting point. For example, there are five African elephant trunks, a silver box featuring Western Asian silver wares, and bronze incense burners and frankincense from Southeast Asia.

Admission: the ticket price is 12 yuan.

Opening hours: It opens from 9 am to 5:30 pm.

How to get there: You can take Bus No. 7, 24, 58, 87, 244, 273, 182, 519, 528, 552, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110 to the Museum. You can also take Subway Line 2 to Yuexiu Park Station.

Travel tips: The studio in the comprehensive exhibition building shows videos on the excavation of the tomb for free (available in Mandarin, Cantonese, Minnan Language, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish). Travelers can obtain some relevant materials about the Museum for free in the museum's hall.
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A large palace site was discovered in the office site of Han Nanyue Kingdom. The experts identified it as the palace site of the Southern Han Dynasty (917-971) in the periods of Five Dynasties and Ten States.

During the excavation work, the experts discovered rather delicately glazed square floor tiles. Each tile measures 36cm (14 inches) on each side, and was exquisitely carved with the famous patterns of "Butterflies Lingering over Flowers", reflecting the yearn towards happy life of people in that time.

Besides, four bottomless jars with lotus flower patterns were unearthed. The use of these same-size jars is supposed to be related with Buddhism services.

Judged by the unearthed cultural relics, location, constructional scales and vigor, the experts believe the palace site was one of the big places where the kings of Nanyue handled the daily affairs.

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