Located at the Xiaotun Village, Anyang city, Henan Province, the ruins of the capital city of the late Shang Dynasty are preserved in the Yin Ruins Museum where inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells were discovered in 1899. It is also the birthplace of Chinese archeology, one of the 100 patriotic education centers of China, one of the superior national scenery areas as well as one of the National Key Historic Relic Sites.
The world famous Yin Ruins Palace is of great importance in the history of human civilization. Large amount of bones and tortoise shells with inscriptions, bronze wares, jade and stone wares and other rare cultural relics were found on the ruins of more than 50 majestic palaces here. According to archeologists, “we are excavating a slavery society”. The Yin (Shang) Culture of “three key factors of cities, characters and bronze wares” is “a glorious ancient Chinese civilization”.
The Yin Ruins Museum, like an art palace of ancient China culture, inspires and refines our sentiment on Chinese ancient civilization. Palace of Yin Ruins
The majestic Palace of Yin Ruins, one of the most famous classic cities of ancient civilizations of the world, falls into three catalogues: palaces, temples and altars. Large amount of culture relics have been found here, including the ruins of the cast brass, the bones and tortoise shells with inscriptions, bronze wares, jade and stone wares and others, among which are the top ones of China, or even the world. They are the manifestation of the unusual power of creation, wisdom and techniques of ancient Chinese. According to archeologists, “we are excavating a slavery society”. The Yin (Shang) Culture of “three key factors of cities, characters and bronze wares” is “a glorious ancient Chinese civilization”. Guo Moruo, a famous Chinese historian, once wrote poems to show his admiration and commented that the Yin Ruins are the starting point of Chinese civilization on the central plain and touring here is more enlightening than reading ancient books. Chariot Pits of Yin Ruins
Chariot Pits of Yin Ruins are the earliest chariots and road remains of ancient China. Animal-drawn carts were once the most important means of transport in ancient China, a vast land. Vehicles of the Yin (Shang) Dynasty, having been found several times, are generally of the same structure, showing a long interval between the Yin Dynasty and the time when they were invented. Vehicles are said to have been invented in the Xia Dynasty according to ancient documents. However, no such vehicles have been found yet. The Chariot Pits found on Yin Ruins are the earliest animal-driven carts in Chinese archeology, an evidence of China’s being one of the earliest ancient civilizations inventing and using carts.
The six Chariot Pits and road remains of Yin Ruins exhibited in the Museum were excavated by the Archeology Research Institute of China Social Science Academy in Anyang. These chariot pits are almost intact, being of great value in academic study and exhibition. In each pit there buried a chariot. Another two horses were buried in each of the five pits. In each of the four pits is one person immolated. Based on statistics, most of the immolated people are male adults, except for one male youth. Studies show that chariots of the Yin Dynasty were good-looking, solid, light, fast, balanced and comfortable. Chariot Pits of Yin Ruins are the most vivid history textbooks on the far ancient civilization of animal-driven carts as well as the cruel institution of burying the living with the dead in the slavery society. Oracle Bone Inscriptions of Yin Ruins
Oracle bone inscriptions, the origin of Chinese characters and the earliest mature Chinese characters, were records of auguries in the Yin Dynasty, known as the earliest “archive” in ancient China. The 4,500 single Chinese characters recorded on 150,000 bones and tortoise shells found reveal social practices involving politics, military affairs, cultures, customs as well as science and techniques including astronomy, calendar, medicine and others. Judging from the 1500 single Chinese characters decoded, oracle bone inscriptions of the Yin Dynasty have learned to create characters by “pictograph, associative compounds, echoism, self-explanation, mutual explanation and phonetic loan”, manifesting the unique charm of Chinese characters. Bronze Wares of Yin Ruins
China has a long history of manufacturing artistic bronze wares of unique artistic style and national characteristics. The various bronze wares including sacrificial vessels, musical instruments, weapons, tools, appliances, decorations and artistic works embody the climax of the bronze era in China presented by sacrificial vessels and weapons, playing an important role in Chinese ancient culture. Bronze wares of Yin Ruins, with their baroque, mysterious styles, beautiful decoration lines, abstracted animal designs, refined geometry patterns and delicate embossments, are manifestations of the religious and aesthetic views of Yin people in an exaggerative and mysterious style, being cultured with primitive roughness and artistic attractions. The glorious achievements of bronze ware casting of Yin Ruins have made it one of the centers of bronze civilization in the world. Simuwu Quadripod
Simuwu Quadripod unearthed in the mausoleum area of the Yin Ruins, the largest and the most famous bronze sacrificial vessel in the world, is 875 kg in weight, 133 cm in height with an opening as long as 79.2 cm. Standing on the open plaza in front of the great hall is an enlarged copy of the original one for the convenience of touring and appreciation, with the original one cherished in the Museum of Chinese History. With its unusual air of majesty, together with its delicate decorative patterns, it is considered a treasure in the bronze culture of China as well as a glorious pearl shining on the peak of the world art. The superior cast techniques and scientific choice ingredients have even won the admiration of modern metallurgy experts. To cast such a significant vessel carrying such a great weight, advanced techniques and experiences in organization of laborers are necessary. As many scholars have pointed out, this huge bronze quadripod reflects the advanced slavery system of the Yin (Shang) Dynasty and the unusual power of creation of the people.
The Fuhao Tomb excavated in 1976 ranked high among the top ten achievements in the archeology of that year. Lying on the southwest of the Foundation Ruins C, Fuhao Tomb is one of the most important archeology discoveries in the temple and palace areas of Yin Ruins since 1928. It is also the only discovered and well-reserved tomb of Shang royal members since the science excavation of Yin Ruins. As to the size, it is 5.6 meters long from north to south, 4 meters wide from east to west and 7.5 meters deep. On the tomb was built an ancestral temple described as “Muxinzong” by oracle inscriptions on shells and bones. Muxinzong is a memorial temple built by king Wuding to offer sacrifices after Fuhao’s death. The establishment now we see is the scientific restore of the remains of Muxinzong.
Add: North end of the Yinxu Rd, Xiaotun Village in the north-west suburb of Anyang City, Henan Province
By driving: Drive along the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway and switch out at the Anyang Exit. Then drive on along the People’s Avenue and turn right at the No.5 People’s Hospital.
By bus: It is five minutes’ walk after taking off bus No. 1 or No.15 at the Yinxu stop. Or simply take off bus No.18 at the terminus.
By train: Get off at Anyang station and take bus No.18 at Middle Wenfeng Road.