Posts Tagged ‘Henan Museum’

China celebrates Qingming Festival

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

China has celebrated the Qingming Festival, when it’s traditional for people to pay tribute to their ancestors and the heroes who died serving their country.

In central China’s Henan Province holiday makers enjoyed some of these varied traditions at the 2012 Kaifeng Qingming Culture Festival. Kaifeng is closely linked to Qingming Festival, with the famous ancient painting “The Riverside Scene at the Qingming Festival” capturing life in the Northern Song capital of Bianjing, which is today’s Kaifeng.

In the Qingming River Garden, the bustling scene depicted on the scroll painting comes to life. There is also a model of the scene in the excellent Henan Museum in Zhengzhou which I visited on my trip to Beijing, Tianjin, and Zhengzhou in December 2010 – January 2011.

Yonghegong Lama Temple and the Temple of Heaven

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

After exploring the fascinating treasures of the Henan Museum and enjoying the hospitality of Zhengzhou’s very friendly people I returned to Beijing by train on 9 January. Since then I have visited two more of Beijing’s significant attractions – Yonghegong Lama Temple and the Temple of Heaven.

Yonghegong Lama TempleYonghegong Lama Temple, the largest lamasery in Beijing, was built in 1694 as the residence of Prince Yong of the Qing Dynasty. After the prince came to the throne as Emperor Yongzheng he in 1725 changed his old residence into a temporary dwelling palace called “Yonghegong” meaning palace of harmony and peace. In 1744 his successor Emperor Qianlong changed the palace into a lama temple. In the temple halls there are many Buddhist statues, paintings and relics including a breathtaking 18-metre high Buddha carved from one piece of white sandalwood.

The Temple of Heaven, built from 1420, was where emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties went to worship heaven and offer sacrifices to pray for bumper harvests and favourable rain. A spectacular group of ancient temple buildings sits in 273 hectares of beautiful parkland, including the landmark Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and Circular Mound Altar.

For this part of the trip I’m staying in Dongzhimen, which is located near to the Beijing Worker’s Stadium and Gymnasium and Beijing’s embassy district. Like Chongwenmen where we stayed earlier in the trip, Dongzhimen was previously the location of an ancient city gate. It also has a subway station that accesses two subway lines as well as the Airport Express train service.


Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

On 4 January we travelled by train from Beijing to Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province. The train journey took just over 5 hours to travel a distance of about 800 km, and while not high speed rail it was still a fast and efficient service in a very comfortable near-new train.

Revolving Restaurant, Guang Dong Hotel, ZhengzhouThe high speed rail line between Beijing and Zhengzhou is currently under construction and when completed the travel time between the two cities will be reduced significantly.

That evening we enjoyed the night view of Zhengzhou from the city’s only revolving restaurant which is on the top floor of the Guang Dong Hotel where we are staying. The view includes nearby Erqi Square and Erqi Tower, a major landmark in central Zhengzhou, as well as the remains of the ancient city wall.

While in Zhengzhou I plan to visit the nationally significant Henan Museum. One of the oldest museums in China, the Henan Museum moved into its present distinctive building in 1998.  At present the museum has a collection of more than 130,000 cultural relics, of which more than 5,000 pieces are highly significant treasures.