Home> Museums

Guo State Museum

( chinaculture.org )

Updated: 2013-07-09

Guo State Museum
Guo State Museum
Guo State Museum
Guo State Museum

The huge Guo State Museum is a modern, multifunctional scenic spot dedicated to helping tourist learn more about this area in the Henan Province.

The museum is divided into the four areas: history and culture, relics, the army, and King Guoji's tomb site.

The museum covers two periods of China, the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.16th century-771 BC) and the Spring and Autumn Periods (770-476 BC).

The unique buildings, exquisite national treasures, mighty underground army formations and the gorgeous palace make Guo State a distinctive cultural spot in Henan province.

Guo State's history

'The Guo State period' exhibition hall presents an overview of Guo State through words, pictures, dioramas and other displays.

The Guo State was a vassal State of the early Western Zhou Dynasty. The first king of the Guo State was the younger brother of Emperor Zhou Wenwang and the uncle of Emperor Zhou Wuwang. Most kings of the Guo State were high officials of the Western Zhou Dynasty, who helped the king of the Zhou Dynasty to conquer other kingdoms and participated in making important decisions. They played important roles in the rise and development of the Zhou Dynasty.

In 655 BC, Guo State was wiped out by the Jin vassal state.

The cemetery of the Guo State was in today's Shang Cunling town. It is a large public cemetery from the period of the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn period. Its discovery and excavation provided a window into the mystery of the ancient Guo State.

Tracing royalty - the tomb sites of King Guoji

This 400 meters exhibition hall displays King Guoji's tomb, three retainers' tombs, and two buried horse pits. Guoji's tomb is 5.3 meters long, 5.5 meters wide, and 12 meters deep. The coffin is wooden and Guoji wears a jade-decorated veil, jade ware on his chest, jade stones on his hands and toes, and jade in his mouth. He lies on his back, with his head facing north and his hands on his chest. This is the only tomb of the Western Zhou Dynasty or the Spring and Autumn Period found yet.

This tomb was made in the late years of XuanWang of the Zhou Dynasty, which was about 2800 years ago. The buried articles are rather rich, adding up to 5,293 pieces of bronze, gold, jade, stone, carnelian, bone, pottery horn, tooth, clam, leather, wood, bamboo, linen, silk and more. The quantity is huge; the style is unique; the handicraft is delicate. Most of them are peculiar and rare and filled in the blanks of the archaeological research of Western Zhou Dynasty, such as 'the first sword of china', 'the jade-decorated veil (Zhuiyumingmu)' and 'Jade wear with seven semi-circulars' and 'golden belt with 12 golden pieces'. Thus, it was rated as 'one of the ten archaeological discoveries of the country' of 1990.

Picking up the Best of Treasures of Guo State - The display for its unearthed cultural relics

This hall exhibits the tombs of two emperors, one empress and a prince, and other delicate cultural relics, which has been found in the Zhao area since the '90s. Some things they have found include bronze treasures and Jade picks. The jades that imitate animals are extremely exquisite and vividly delicate. They nearly include all the species frequently seen at North Temperate Zone. The iron sword with a Jade-handle and bronze-heart is well known all around the world because it demonstrates a 200-year-old form of iron smelting. It has been nicknamed 'the first sword of china'.

Jade had a close relationship with necromancy beliefs, taste concepts, hierarchical systems, and ethics in ancient China. It was a symbol for the civilization of the Guo State and was widely used in various ceremonies. There are more than 3,000 pieces of jade unearthed in this tomb. All of the pieces were in excellent quality and showed exquisite craftsmanship.

Chariots Rattling and Horses Neighing --- The display for the sites of its huge army array

This exhibit displays the chariot pits of the emperor of the Guo State, the wife of the emperor and the prince. The three chariot pits are displayed from south to north according to the army lines. This was the first time people buried the chariot pits together with their owners. They are the first and largest chariot pits.

Various Craftworks

1. Enginery

The appearance of iron-smelted enginery and tools was of great significance at that time, which demonstrated the advancement of technology. There were various daily tools, including not only the bronze treasures and jade picks that were mentioned before but also pottery, tools of stone, bone, ivory and hemp fabrics that functioned differently according to different systems and daily requirements.


According to experts, the unearthed ironware here can be divided into two categories: artificial smelting ironwork and siderite ironwork. Using smelted ironwork and siderite together for a period of more than 100 years was common, which was sufficiently proved by the discovery of Guo State's tomb. The discovery of smelted ironwork particularly pushes the history of iron smelting of China nearly 200 years ahead, demonstrating the advanced technology and productive level of the Guo State.

The first chariot pit

M2001 chariot pit (the first chariot pit) buried with emperor GuoJi is quadrate on a plane. With a chariot 47.6 meters long, 3.7 to 4.16 meters wide and 1.1 to 1.4 meters deep, GuoJi's ride is the biggest unearthed chariot pit in Guo State's tomb. Besides the broken chariots in the modern tomb and pit, there are 13 chariots, 64 horse skulls, and 6 dog skulls unearthed. The chariots sit in the northern half the pit, each holds two horses beneath. Most horses are in the southern half of the pit. All the chariots are in good order, with heads northward and carriages southward interlaced. They are made from wood with black paint on the surface, and were used in wars. Those horses must be buried after being killed or poisoned, and the dogs buried here might be the earliest proof of its being used in wars.

The second chariot pit

M2012 chariot pit (the second chariot pit) buried with the concubine liangji is quadrate in plane, with 10.3 meters long, 5.02-5.36 meters wide, and 1.6 meters deep. There are 19 wooden chariots, in three rows from west to east, with 8 in the western row, 7 in the middle, and only 4 in the east, each holding horses beneath. The parts beneath the chariots haven't been cleared due to the consideration of protection and exhibition. If each chariot holds two horses beneath, then there must be 38 horses in this pit.

The third chariot pit

M2011 chariot pit buried with the prince were 21 meters long, 3.15 meters wide, and 1.5-1.6 meters deep. Only the chariot relics in the eastern part have been cleared out and the rest are still waiting for their day.

Copyright @ 2013 China Daily
All Rights Reserved
Sponsored by Sanmenxia Municipal Government
Powered by China Daily