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History

Once forgotten, the culture, art, architecture and history of China’s Western Xia region is brought to life in a Macao Museum exhibition that runs until next month. We take a look at what makes this region a ‘glorious’ Chinese cultural and historical treasure.

What do you know about the ancient Egyptians? You’ve at least heard of pyramids, mummies and the curse of Tutankhamun. You’re also probably familiar with the Romans and their armies, the Greeks and their philosophy, the Aztecs and their temples and the Mongols and their fierce warriors. When it comes to China, you’ve surely heard tales of the emperors, the inventions and the revolutions. But what do you know about Western Xia? Unless you’re a historian or scholar, probably not much. And this would hardly be a surprise. For hundreds of years, little was known about this ancient civilisation that dominated vast swathes of land in northern China. However, now, with the help of historians on the Mainland, the world is beginning to learn more about one of China’s most ‘glorious’ civilisations. Macao, over the past couple of months, is one such place that has been learning about Western Xia. ‘Reminiscences of the Silk Road – Exhibition of Cultural Relics of the Western Xia Dynasty’ is an exhibition that has been on show since 14 June – and runs until 6 October – at Macao Museum. It’s been organised in collaboration with the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Museum – which is based in Ningxia, a small autonomous region in north-central China that is at the heart of what was once Western Xia – and celebrates this year’s 20th anniversary of Macao’s return to China. The exhibition takes visitors around 148 relics from the ancient culture and features a film that details its history, as well as an array of interactive exhibits. If you enter with no idea about Western Xia and its people, then you will leave with an excellent potted history. But it may be worth boning up beforehand.

(Photos from the Macao Museum exhibition, clockwise from top left) Greenglazed statue of Kalavinka with a pentagonal flower crown; gilt bronze statue of Hanshan, a monk and poet in the Tang dynasty; polychrome-painted clay statue of an 'arhat', a 'perfected person' in Buddhism; brown-glazed vase with carved peony design; head of a stone 'chi', which is an architectural part of a roof

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Profile for Macaulink

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...