Home Luoyang Attractions The Museum of Imperial Carriages of the Emperor of Zhou Dynasty

The Museum of Imperial Carriages of the Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty

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 zhou dynasty There is a statue that six horses pull a carriage at the entrance of the museum.
  • Chinese: 周王城天子驾六博物馆 Zhōuwángchéng Tiānzǐjiàliù Bówùguǎn /joh wung-chnng tyen-dzrr-jyah-lyoh bor-woo-gwann/ the Museum of Imperial Carriages of the Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty
  • Area: 7 hectares (17 acres)
  • Popular activities: visit an archaeological site, learn about the history of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty
  • Must-sees: sacrificial pits, artifacts
  • Suited to: history lovers
  • Time needed: 1 hour

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.

Exhibition One — Artifacts and History

artifacts dispalying on the wallMany artifacts and history introductions are displayed on the wall.

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.

Brief History of 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.

Exhibition Two — Highlights of the Museum: Sacrificial Pits

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.

sacrificial pitThe wheels of the chariots and the skeletal remains of horses can be seen clearly in the pit.

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.

The Burying of Horses and Chariots

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).

Travel Essentials for a Tour

  • Entrance fee : 30 yuan
  • Open : 8:30am–6pm
  • Location : 226 Zhongzhou Middle Road, Xigong District
  • How to get there : It is about 4 km (7 miles) from Luoyang Longmen Railway Station and 2.5 km (1½ miles) from Luoyang Railway Station, which is 10 minutes’ drive. Alternatively, you can take bus 5, 36, or 81 to get there.

Nearby Attractions

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.

customers and our guide Our guide are explaining the history of the site.

Start a Historical Tour with Us

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.

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