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Home Travel in Guangdong Western Han Nanyue King's Tomb Museum
Western Han Nanyue King's Tomb Museum
Travel in Guangdong

    The Western Han Dynasty Nanyue King Mausoleum Museum
Located on Jiefang Road North (jiě fàng běi lù 解放北路), Guangzhou (guǎng zhōu 广州), the Western Han Dynasty Nanyue King Mausoleum Museum (xī hàn nán yuè wáng bó wù guǎn 西汉南越王博物馆) is the oldest and largest Han tomb with the most funerary objects in Lingnan (lǐng nán 岭南) 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.

Background of Nanyue Kingdom
In 214 BC, Qingshihuang (qín shǐ huáng 秦始皇), the first emperor of Qin Dynasty (qín cháo 秦朝), dispatched a 500,000 strong army to unite the Lingnan area. After the downfall of Qin, the former Qin general Zhao Tuo (zhào tuó 赵佗) rose to power in the ensuing chaos and established the Nanyue Kingdom (nán yuè guó 南越国) in the year of 203 BC. The Nanyue Kingdom lasted for 93 years, with 5 kings in reign. 


Zhao YingqiDuring his reign of 67 years, Zhao Tuo carried out series of policies that were conducive to the unification of ethnic peoples, and social and economic developments in the Lingnan region.

Zhao Mo (zhào mò 赵眜) was the second king, ruling the Nanyue Kingdom for 16 years. He was Zhao Tuo’s grandson. Since Zhao Tuo lived a long life, Zhao Mo’s father did not get the time to be king before Zhao Mo was bestowed with the crown. Zhao Mo’s life was recorded in historical records like Shiji (shǐ jì 史记) and Hanshu (hàn shū 汉书).

Emperor WuZhao Mo’s son, Zhao Yingqi (zhào yīng qí 赵婴齐), became the third king for 10 years. His mausoleum was plundered during the Three Kingdoms Period (sān guó shí qī 三国时期).

Both the fourth and the fifth Kings were Zhao Yingqi’s sons. The brothers fought for the crown at the expense of each other’s life. The time they were kings in all counted no more than three years. The Nanyue Kingdom disappeared from history when Emperor Wu (hàn wǔ dì 汉武帝) of the Han Dynasty (hàn cháo 汉朝) caught and killed the fifth king.

About the Mausoleum Museum

Western Han  Nanyue King's Tomb MuseumThe owner of the tomb is the second king, Zhao Mo of Nanyue Kingdom of the Western Han Dynasty (xī hàn 西汉) (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, nán yuè wén huà 南越文化). Represented also are traces of central Chinese culture, the Chu Jade Burial Suitculture 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 Jade Burial Suit (sī lǚ yù yī 丝缕玉衣) made up of 2,291 pieces of jade. Though jade garments with pieces connected by gold, silver, or copper are not uncommon, this burial suit 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 Jade Burial Suit shows the early development of jade garments as well as development of the Nanyue culture.

Bronze CenserIn 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.
Western Han Dynasty Nanyue King Mausoleum Museum
No.867 Jiefang Road North, Guangzhou
Admission Fee: RMB 12
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Traffic: take No. 7, 24, 58, 87, 244, 273, 182, 519, 528, 552 bus


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