Saturday, 8 July 2017

Tomb of Marquis Yi & BianZhong Bells @ Hubei Museum. Wuhan


Any trip to Wuhan city would be incomplete if it does not include a visit to the Hubei Museum 湖北省博物馆, one of the top museums in China, if not the world.


The museum building in the Wuchang district of Wuhan built in 1960 may not be a marvel of architecture, but it is the home of over 200,000 priceless artifacts, many of which are of world historical significance.


The treasures include artifacts from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng with the Bianzhong 编钟, a large set of bronze chime bells as its centrepiece. The Tomb of Marquis Yi was excavated in 1978.

As we were allotted just one hour to visit the huge museum, I chose to focus on the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng exhibition. (To properly visit the whole museum would take several days. I hope to be back to visit the rest of Hubei Museum.)


This is the weathered ornate outer wooden casket of Marquis Yi of Zeng 曾侯乙. Zeng was one of over 50 vassal states controlled by Chu in central China - the dominant state during the violent Warring States period (475 - 221 BC). Marquis Yi died and was buried in 433 BC (2,400 years ago) in Suizhou, 170 km northwest of Wuhan.


Marquis Yi's inner casket is so well preserved, we can still see the gleam of the gold lacquer outside.


Numerous ritual bronzes, gold and jade artifacts were buried in the 220 sq. metre size tomb. The Chinese Airforce stumbled upon the grand tomb in 1977 while clearing earth to construct a radar repair shop in Suizhou.


There were many weapons of war buried in the tomb, including this war chariot wheel with a blade designed to hack off the legs of enemy soldiers and horses 😱


War axes at the sharp end of ancient phalanxes.


In all, there are over 10,000 precious artifacts in good condition excavated from the Tomb of Marquis Yi.


The centrepiece is this incredible set of bronze chime bells known as Bianzhong 编钟 buried in the Tomb of Marquis Yi.


The ancient BianZhong consists of 65 bronze chime bells of different sizes capable of producing roughly the same set of tones as the modern piano. Five musicians are required together to play this instrument, by striking the chime bells with wooden mallets.

One of the bells, the largest one weighing over 200 kg, was a gift from the emperor of Chu to Marquis Yi, signifying the powerful Chu state's good relationship with its vassal Zeng state.


After viewing the Bianzhong, we proceeded to the auditorium in the adjacent building to watch a mesmerising performance using a replica of the set of bronze bells from the Tomb of Marquis Yi.

The bells sounded a bit eerie and haunting to me 😅

Isn't it fascinating that today, we can listen to the same music as Marquis Yi and his splendid imperial court in ancient China over 2,400 years ago? Imagine these bells silent for over 2,000 years, alive again.

👉 A trip to the Hubei Museum to see and hear the legendary Bianzhong 编钟 is a must in any visit to Wuhan city.

✈ AirAsiaX flies direct from Kuala Lumpur to Wuhan via Flight D7 878 every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Departs KLIA2 at 6:00pm and arriving at Wuhan Tienhe International Airport at 11:10pm.      

✈ Flight D7 879 flies from Wuhan direct to KL every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday departing Wuhan at 00:25am and arriving in KLIA2 at 05:25am.      

To book tickets go to AirAsia 👈 click    

Date: 9 Jun 2017    

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