Being a historic and cultural site under state protection, Guo State Museum was first built around the site of the cemetery of Guo State of Western Zhou Dynasty (c.1100BC-c.771BC). The museum was built beside Yellow River to the north, and faces Xiao Mountain to the south. With an area of 1,200 sq. meters, the museum has some exhibitions, e.g. the Guo State history, the stone tablet and stone inscription arts of the past dynasties in Sanmenxia City, the chariot and horse pits of Guo State and the duplicated ancient chariots.
With an area of 32,450,000 sq. meters, Guo State Cemetery is the only excavated Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC) cemetery which is large in scale, well arranged and well preserved. The cemetery was first found in 1956. From that time on, about 800 sites with 30,000 cultural relics have been unearthed. In the 1990s, two grand tombs of two kings, Guoji and Guozhong, were excavated. Large amount of valuable cultural relics were found. The excavation was evaluated as one of the “ten top archeological findings in China” and one of the “100 archeological findings of the 20th century in China”. In 2002, Guo State Museum was ratified as an AAAA-level scenic spot in China and got the accreditation for Environmental Management System ISO14001.
With an area of 150 mu (mu is a traditional unit of area, equaling to 1/6 acre), the Guo State Museum consists of the following five basic parts:
(1) Guo State history and culture
This exhibition hall presents an overview of Guo State through words, pictures, dioramas and other displays.
(2) The Best of Treasures of Guo State - the display of its unearthed cultural relics:
This hall exhibits the tombs of two emperors, one empress and a prince, and other delicate cultural relics. Some things exhibited include bronze treasures and Jade picks. There are more than 3,000 pieces of jade unearthed in this tomb. 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”.
(3) Liangji, Guoji’s wife --- the exhibition of the cultural relics excavated in the tomb of a Queen of Guo State:
This hall includes four parts: Liangji’s dressing up, the restored coffin, bronze ware and jade ware. There are altogether 1,506 burial articles excavated in Liangji’s tomb. Only some most delicate ones are chosen for the exhibition. One of the most precious articles is the semi-annular jade pedant made up of five pieces different jades tied with 386 pieces of red agates, and 16 pearls. Other treasures are the phoenix’s pattern and Liangji pottery jar.
(4) Chariots and Horses --- the display of its huge army array:
This exhibit displays the chariot pits of the emperor of 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.
(5) Tracing royalty - the tomb site 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 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.
The buried articles in this tomb 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.
Besides, the craftworks excavated include not only the bronze treasures and jade picks mentioned above but also pottery, tools of stone, ivory and hemp fabrics that have different functions in daily life. Some smelting ironwork has also been found in the Guo State’s tombs. There are also other national treasures, such as the “first sword of China” and Liangji’s jade-decorated veil the semi-annular jade pendant.