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Four Museums of Gongchenqiao Ancient Culture Street

china grand canal museum
China Grand Canal Museum

Gongchenqiao(拱宸桥) or Gongchen Ancient Bridge is the landmark of gongchenqiao Ancient Culture Street on the riverfront of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Gongchenqiao Ancient Culture Street is briefly summarized to be one pavilion, two sides, two squares, three gardens and six piers and fifteen bridges.This ancient culture street is highlighted with the traditional show of ancient Hangzhou, and the highlights of this area are Memorial Temple of Zhang Daxian, Traditional Medicine Hall of Fanghuichuntang, and three themed museums comprised of China Grand Canal Museum, China Umbrella Musuem, China Fans Museum, and China Museum of Knife, Scissors and Sword.

China Grand Canal Museum

Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal was opened partially in the period of Spring and Autumn as well as the Warring Periods, and thoroughly connected between the south and north in the period ranging from Sui Dynasty to Yuan Dynasty. The total length is 1,794 kilometers. It is the oldest canal around the world and still plays the role of waterway as well.

china grand canal museum map
China Grand Canal Museum Map

China Grand Canal is located on the south of Hangzhou Grand Canal Culture Square and abut the Gongchen Bridge, the south endpoint of China Grand Canal. The investment of museum establishment is more than 100 million RMB. The whole museum is comprised of four parts: The Opening and Changes of Grand Canal, The Utilization of Grand Canal, The Cities of Grand Canal and Culture of Grand Canal. Currently, there are thousands of cultural relics and historic files exhibited and thoroughly exhibit the role and status of Grand Canal in history of China. The museum was officially opened on October 1, 2007, and the name was inscribed by Qiao Shi(乔石), a famous political leader of China Communist Party. Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Museum is China’s only themed museum with the time-honored Grand Canal.

The First Exhibition Hall themed with the figure statues and historical pictures, and it displays the primitive period of Grand Canal, and the highlighted article is an excavated bronze dagger of periods of Spring and Autumns. It is the oldest article collected in China Grand Canal Museum. The Second Exhibition Hall embodies the Utilization of Grand Canal. The displaying articles are connected with the water transportation. The most valuable article is an official vessel(官斛) of Suzhou authorities in Qing Dyansty. The Third Exhibition Hall is a mini-show of riverside cities of Grand Canal. The Fourth Exhibition Hall is themed with Culture of Grand Canal. The highlights of this hall show the specialties of cities along the Grand Canal like Langzhuang Miansu, Yangzhou paper-cut and Wuxi clay figurines. These are all the historic heritage and exhibitions of China Grand Canal Culture.

China Grand Canal Museum is not a simple and significant museum. It thoroughly shows the natural characteristics and cultural quintessence of Grand Canal, and also plays the role of research and exhibition center of collections of Grand Canal Cultural Relics and Historical Documents. In the meantime, together with Grand Canal Culture Square, It is also the comprehensive travel service center of Grand Canal travel hub.

China Umbrella Museum

China Umbrella Museum
China Umbrella Museum

China Umbrella Museum is a newly-established themed museum with umbrellas in Hangzhou. Since its opening, it has been one of the welcome tourist destinations of Hangzhou with its special tourist resources and unique charm. Umbrella in traditional Chinese literature is a classic image of romance and femininity. In many poems and essays, umbrellas are always connected with elegant ladies and mild gentlewomen.

The Exhibition Hall of Chinese Umbrella Museum covers more than 2411 square meters. Through a tranquil and blue-painted path, massive umbrellas are being hung on the roof, which straightforwardly attract the tourists into a world of aesthetic world. From the origin, history, making, culture and craftworks, this themed museum thoroughly exhibits the uniqueness and poetic atmosphere created by the diversity of umbrellas. The oilpaper-made umbrellas, handmade artistic umbrellas and West Lake Silk Umbrellas representing the picturesque landscape of Yangtze River Delta are perfectly exhibiting the charm of traditional Hangzhou culture. The modern metal-made umbrellas all illustrate a variety of legendary stories. The domestically famous love story named Lady White classically moves people of different generations via an impressive section of scene that Lady White firstly met Xu Xian and borrowed an umbrella from Xu Xian who lately became her husband accidentally on the Duanqiao Bridge when it was raining all day long. Perhaps traditional umbrellas in Hangzhou are partially an important sign of Hangzhou local culture and to some extent is the symbol of Chinese traditional feministic culture. By the way, Chinese Umbrella Museum also has an interesting game-playing zone. Visitors can see various images and design of umbrellas via touching diversity of computer-screen keystrokes.

One of the highlighted exhibitions is the special umbrellas with illuminant poles invented in 1980s. The umbrella poles are made of the organic glass. Its function is based on the origin of light installed at the bottom of umbrella poles. There are manually dynamoelectric umbrellas specially used for the senior people, because it installs some special equipment such as the alarming system.

China Museum of Knife, Scissors and Sword

China Museum of Knife, Scissors and Sword
China Museum of Knife,
Scissors and Sword

Chinese Knife, Scissors and Sword Museum is established beside Chinese Umbrella Museum. Two museums share a joint entrance hall. After the main hall, and turn right, visitors reach Chinese Knife, Scissors and Sword Museum, which covers a total area of 2,460 square meters. Chinese Knife, Scissors and Sword Museum professionally exhibits a unique culture of Chinese traditional weapons and life tools. Chinese Knife, Scissors and Sword Museum has two floors. The ground floor exhibits the scissors and knife, and the second floor shows a variety of knife and sword. The most highlighted zone in Chinese Knife, Scissors and Sword Museum is the interaction zone, where the visitors can experience the true activities of using these weapons. In this museum, the oldest knife is the bronze-made one made in Chinese Warring-State Period, and the most mysterious knife is Damascus Steel-Made Knife. Besides, there are also the exhibitions of the traditional scissors workshop. Hangzhou is a famous city for making scissors, and the famous brand is Zhang Xiaoquan Scissors.

China Fan Museum

China Fan Museum was officially opened on 29, September, 2009. Located in Hangzhou, It is Chinese first top-class themed museum of fan exhibiting a variety of rare and treasured collections of fans, which in traditional China, used to represent a special status, superior educational background and the splendid self-cultivation. Anciently fans were widely used by well-educated learners and scholars or high-level officials to show their difference and taste.

As for why Hangzhou is selected as the location of Chinese Fan Museum, the reason mainly closely connected with the fame of traditional handwork of Hangzhou thorough China. Hangzhou apart from its gorgeous landscape of nature and culture is also famous for its time-honored traditional craftsmanship. For instance, Wangxingji, which is a national-level China Time-Honored Brand, traditionally is the authority of production of traditional Chinese fans. In Hangzhou, the most valuable souvenirs are Silk Product, Longjing Green Tea and Wangxingji Fan. They together are highly praised as Three Marvels of Hangzhou. Since Song Dynasty, Hangzhou has been the center of China’s fan industry and fan culture.

china fan museum
China Fan Museum

Chinese Fan Museum is located in themed street of history and culture in West Gongchenqiao scenic area. The visitors boom since its formal opening. Fan in China, to a most degree, is the symbol of culture. Anciently, Fan was used for rites rather than for enjoying the cool. Hence the making of fan is also elaborated; especially, the main body of the fan is mostly featured with charm and Chinese classical culture. On such a limited paper, it shows the quintessence of Chinese scholar culture----Painting, Calligraphy and Inking. It was a fashion actually in ancient China, in particular in Ming and Qing Dynasties. A massive of Chinese famous artists or talented learners are quite interested in this field such as Wu Changshuo, Zhang Daqian, Fu Baoshi, Zheng Banqiao, Shi Tao and Ren Bonian and so on. So fan in Chinese mind always shows a part of honor in culture.

“扇业祖师殿”(Hall of Founder of fan industry) is an important collection in China Fan Museum and also a special treasure in this themed museum. “扇业祖师殿”is an engraved stone slab of Qing dynasty. It is made of bluestones, with an outline of Chinese character“凸”. Its length is 3.5 meters, width 0.9 meters and the thickness is 10 cm. it weighs more than 1ton. The three Chinese characters “扇业祖师殿”are engraved with regular scripts, the length of each character is 41cm, and it is highly skilled engraving giving intensified artistic thrills. It is a justification of Hangzhou’s fan industry development as well as a milestone of the fan industry as a whole. Currently the largest fan collected in this museum is made in Wangxingji. It boasts Divine Fan(神扇) with a height of 2.6 meters and the total length is 5 meters. This special fan was well reserved in a serious fire, which happened in 1990.


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Writer: David from Seeraa International
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