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The Museum of Imperial Carriages of the Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty (1045–256 BC) mainly displays large sacrificial pits with horses and chariots from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770–256 BC). It is located in downtown Luoyang at the Eastern Zhou Royal City Square.
The museum was built on the original archaeological site of the pits and is the only place in the world to show imperial carriages that are over 2,000 years old.
If you are interested in this museum and Chinese history, then read on to find out the highlights of the Museum of Imperial Carriages of the Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty.
The Museum of Imperial Carriages of the Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty is not very big. There are two main exhibitions there.
The first exhibition gives tourists access to information to learn about the history of the imperial city as well as cultural relics from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. The second one displays a sacrificial pit area from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.
The first part has four areas. In the first area, there is a large map showing the locations of the five ancient capitals in Luoyang and their corresponding locations nowadays. The second area instructs on the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.
The third area displays the discoveries of the king's grave area and instructs about the discovery and excavation of the site. The fourth area displays some precious artifacts from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.
The Zhou Dynasty (1045–256 BC) was divided into the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045–771 BC) and the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770–256 BC).
Luoyang was the capital of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty after the Zhou king shifted his capital from Haojing in Xi'an to Luoyang in 770 BC.
As the capital of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, ‘King City’ existed for over 300 years. Luoyang, as the political, economic, and cultural center of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, was very prosperous.
Many important cultural relics can be found in or near the city, especially in the area around the Eastern Zhou Royal City Square.
Archaeologists found two large tombs and 18 sacrificial pits in 2002 and 2003. To protect the sites, the other pits were backfilled, leaving two pits for visiting.
The two sacrificial pits show the remains of horses and chariots that were sacrificed. The largest pit in the north is the highlight.
The largest pit is about 42 meters (45 yards) long by 7.3 meters (8 yards) wide. What you can see are mainly the wheels of the chariots and the skeletal remains of horses. The chariots must have decomposed.
Twenty-six chariots and 70 skeletal remains of horses can be found in this pit. Most of the chariots were drawn by either two or four horses.
Among them, the emperor’s carriage, which was drawn by six horses, is outstanding. You can see clearly see the skeletons of six horses lying in front of the carriage.
Ancient records state that only emperors had chariots drawn by six horses, which wasn’t confirmed until this pit was dug up. The whole pit shows the grandeur of the imperial carriage in the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.
It is similar to the Terracotta Army in Xi’an. It is a reflection of the rites of the Zhou Dynasty and is of great significance in the research of cultural relics in the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.
In ancient China, people attached great importance to horse-drawn chariots or carriages. The number of horses and the size of the chariots or carriages represented the rank and identity of the nobles.
The Zhou Dynasty had strict requirements on social hierarchy and social rules.
According to the rules of etiquette during the Zhou Dynasty, the chariot ridden by the Zhou king had to be pulled by six horses and the chariots ridden by nobles or common people must be pulled by no more than four horses.
There had been a funeral custom that chariots and horses would be buried with tombs since the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). This regulation became flexible until the end of the Warring States Period (475–221 BC).
Wangcheng Park: It is a comprehensive park including a big peony garden, a zoo, and an amusement area. It is near the Museum of Imperial Carriages of the Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty.
Luoyang Museum: It is the only comprehensive history museum in Luoyang and displays some precious treasures. It is about 10 minutes’ drive from the Museum of Imperial Carriages of the Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty.
It may be a little difficult for you to travel to such a historical spot without a guide. If you want to know more about the interesting Chinese history and start a historical tour in Luoyang, you can contact us.
We will tailor-make your tour itinerary according to your preferences and requirements.