Top 9 national treasures from hit TV show

Editor:Sharon Lee
Source:嶄忽晩烏
Updated:2018-03-22 10:12:40

  The hit cultural exploration TV program, National Treasure, which uses theatrical play and other art forms to tell the story behind each of the country's top cultural relics from nine major museums nationwide, has come to end.

  The show won much acclaim from audiences and stirred the public's interest in exploring treasures from the museums. During the show, three national treasures from each museum were presented in one episode, and the top nine relics were selected in the last episode.

  The selected nine national treasures were later displayed in a digital show at the Palace Museum in Beijing in February, marking the museum's first exhibition opening in 2018.

  Now, let's review the top nine national treasures from the show.

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  1. Stone drum from the Palace Museum

  During the show, Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Ka-fai played Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) statesman Sima Guang, who preserved a stone drum incised with hundreds of characters in seal script dating back to the Qin state during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).

  First discovered in Tianxing in Northwest China's Shaanxi province in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907), the stone drums were highly extolled by many Tang scholars, like Wei Yingwu and Han Yu. Both composed shi gu ge (Tribute to the Stone Drums) to eulogize the outstanding calligraphy on the stone drums. The inscriptions, known as the earliest set of Chinese characters carved on stone, are simple yet forceful, describing activities such as fishing, hunting and warfare. They also provided inspiration for many calligraphers who specialized in seal script.

  

  2. Qin Dynasty bamboo slips from Hubei Provincial Museum

  The 1,155 Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) bamboo slips unearthed at Shuihudi Qin tomb in Yunmeng county of Central China's Hubei province include over 40,000 characters written in clerical script, making these the most comprehensive legal documents from the Qin Dynasty, with the largest quantity discovered so far. The pieces offer the world another perspective about the first unification of the Chinese nation.

  These bamboo slips were copied by a grass-roots official named Xi (Joy) from the Qin Dynasty, who was buried with these copies after death. On the show, Sa Beining, a TV anchorman famous for his program about the law, plays Xi in the drama, adding a lot of fun to the show.


   3. Bronze jin with cloud-shaped decorations from Henan Museum

  Chinese actor Lei Jiayin plays the owner of the bronze jin with cloud-shaped decorations, Prince Zigeng, son of King Zhuang of Chu. Unearthed in Xichuan county of Central China's Henan province in 1978, the bronze jin, an artifact of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), was a table to hold wine vessels during rituals.

  Jin, meaning "forbidden", was also made to warn against the alcohol abuse that led to the downfall of the Xia (c. 21st century-16th century BC) and Shang (c. 16th century-11th century BC) dynasties.

  This delicate artwork is one of the earliest bronze objects unearthed in China made by using the lost-wax casting technique. The Chinese government has listed the bronze jin as one of the 64 cultural relics that are forever forbidden to be exhibited abroad.

  

  4. Ceremony of Honor at Side Tower, a mural in the tomb of crown prince Yide, from Shaanxi History Museum

  In the fourth episode of the show, actor Guo Tao served as a keeper of the famous painting, Ceremony of Honor at Side Tower. It was unearthed from the tomb of Crown Prince Yide, a grandson of Empress Wu Zetian, who died at age 19.

  Excavation on the tomb began in 1971, and its east and west walls were found painted with side towers, typical architectural style in front of palace doors. The mural paintings show a spectacular scene consisting of as many as 196 people, with city walls, side towers and hills as the backdrop.

  The mural is a high point of architecture artwork in ancient China in the realistic style. The structure of the building, even the conjunctions of each structure, are depicted exactly and in proportion to the real object.


  

  5. The Tang Dynasty copy of calligraphy by Wang Xizhi from Liaoning Provincial Museum

  Chinese actress Ning Jing introduces the Tang Dynasty copy of calligraphy by calligraphy sage Wang Xizhi of the East Jin Dynasty (317-420). This collection, also comprising calligraphy works by Wang's 27 offspring, was presented to Empress Wu Zetian in the second year of her reign (697) by a descendant of the great calligrapher. The empress immediately ordered the collection copied and kept in her palace. The scroll was beautifully copied and has been praised as an outstanding likeness to the original.

  As it was made during the Wansuitongtian period (696-697), it is also known as the Wansuitongtian script. It shows the relationship between calligraphy styles that were practiced during the Wei, Jin, and Northern and Southern dynasties (220-581), and is a valuable resource for researching the development of Chinese calligraphy script.


  

  6. The "Min er quan" Fanglei, from Hunan Museum

  The "Min er quan" Fanglei is a bronze wine vessel unearthed in 1919 at Taoyuan county, Central China's Hunan province. The container, with varied carving techniques, impressed people with its elegance and solemnity and was thus hailed as "king of all fangleis". It was also considered a representative work of the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC), the peak of Chinese bronze culture.

  In this episode, Chinese actors Huang Bo and Wang Jia, respectively, play the antique's body and lid, because since its excavation in 1919, the two parts were separated for nearly a century. In 2014, the body was brought back to China from overseas and reunited with its lid.


  

  7. Da Ke Ding, from Shanghai Museum

  In the seventh episode, Da Ke Ding, a 2,000-year-old bronze tripod, is presented by Yiyang Qianxi, a member of the popular Chinese boy band, TF Boys. Unearthed from Fufeng county in Shaanxi province in the late 1800s, the cauldron dates back to the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC), and weighs more than 200 kg. It is inscribed with 290 characters that document the merits and achievements of a royal chef named Ke.

  Excavated around the same period, Da Ke Ding, with other two tripods, Da Yu Ding and Mao Gong Ding, used to be known as the "Three Treasures within the Four Seas" because of their sizes, inscriptions and the way they were crafted.


  

  8. The jade cong from Zhejiang Provincial Museum

  Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu acted as Princess Yao of the Liangzhu (3310-2250 BC) to showcase a Liangzhu jade cong dating from the late Neolithic period, when humans first learned to plant crops and domesticate animals, which was discovered in the southeastern part of the Hangzhou-Jiaxing-Huzhou Plain.

  The jade cong is in the shape of a square tube that becomes narrower towards the bottom, with a round hole drilled through it. With a weight of about 6.5 kg, a large size, and its unique and elaborate design, this is the most impressive of all the jade cong in Liangzhu culture. There is no consensus on the function of the cong, although most scholars believe that it was used in religious ceremonies to worship the earth and to pray for a good harvest.


   9. The Arched Door of the Porcelain Pagoda of the Grand Bao'en Temple from Nanjing Museum

  Actress Qin Hailu plays a lady in an unrequited love story to present the Arched Door of the Porcelain Pagoda of Grand Bao'en Temple. Known as "the most beautiful door of Nanjing", it is the only extant door of the Porcelain Pagoda's 144 doors, as they were mostly destroyed in wars in 1856.

  The pagoda was built by order of Emperor Yongle during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and it took the country's best architects 17 years to complete the 78 meter-high octagonal structure, which was covered by colorful glazed porcelain bricks made by the most skillful workers of the time.

  Noted as one of the seven wonders of the medieval world, the Porcelain Pagoda also captivated the West thanks to an introduction by Johan Nieuhof, a renowned 17th century Dutch traveler, in his illustrative and informative China memoirs.