The Yinchuan World Rock Art Museum of the People's Republic of China

The Yinchuan World Rock Art Museum

Curator: Mr. Li Cheng Rong

2008 marked the official inauguration of the Yinchuan World Rock Art Museum of the People's Republic of China. Located in Helankou, near Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the museum nestles at the feet of the spectacular Helan Mountains, famous for its ancient rock carvings.

The newly constructed and state-of-the-art Museum occupies an area of over 7 square kilometers, with a floor space of over 4,000 square meters and an exhibition area of over 2,000 square meters. The museum is composed of 8 parts; the Introduction Hall, the Hall of World Rock Art, the Hall of Chinese Rock Art, the Hall of Rock Engravings of the Helan Mountains, the Hall of Primitive Arts, the Lecture Hall, the Scientific Research and Restoration Laboratory, and the Information and Media Centre.

The Museum has on permanent display over 500 exhibits, representing some of the most significant examples of rock art from 31 countries around the world. The exhibits include original artifacts, replicas, rubbings, tracings and photography.

The Museum was designed to encourage the discovery, documentation and preservation of rock art, based on multinational scientific collaboration, in order to promote the concept of a common heritage and responsibility.

The Museum's close proximity to the Helan Mountain petroglyphs - 500 metres - provides it with a fitting context. With its sympathetic design that allows it to blend naturally within the landscape, the Museum not only acts as the rightful custodian of these engravings, but it is also in the best position to encourage its visitors to see the petroglyphs in situ, with an understanding of their antiquity, beauty, fragility and, perhaps, purpose. In so doing, they become part of the preservation of this common cultural heritage.

Inside the Museum, the efficient and elegant interior display space allows for not only a very extensive range and style of exhibits, but it also allows for clear spatial, temporal and thematic categorization. The exhibition encourages interaction, with the use of multi-media inquiry systems, phantom imaging, projections and games. This appeals to visitors - over 900 per day - of all ages, but especially those from the large number of schools which are incorporating the exhibition and its dedicated system of learning into the school curriculums.
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