May. 18, 2010 -- Turpan Museum is the second largest museum with the richest and largest collection in Xinjiang. It was built in 1990 with an area of 10 mu (about 2 acres), of which structures take up about 3,500 square meters (about 4,186 square yards). It holds over 5,000 fine cultural relics from the Paleolithic Age (about 3 million BC) to the Neoteric (1840-1919) and Modern Times (1919-1949). To some degree, Turpan Museum is a compressed encyclopedia, from which we can get to know the society, politics, economy, military affairs, and cultural life of Turpan during the past dynasties. The exhibition area includes three major parts: the Unearthed Relics Exhibition Hall of Turpan, the Unearthed Archaic Body Exhibition Hall of Turpan, and the Large Rhinoceros Fossil Exhibition Hall.
Unearthed Relics Exhibition Hall of Turpan
The Unearthed Relics Exhibition Hall is divided into eight sections, organized by time period. Approximately 300 various historical and cultural relics are displayed in this hall, including pottery, writings, flax and silk, woodcarvings, dried fruits and all sorts of food. Most of these articles were excavated from ancient tombs, but some were collected from local people. In the unearthed writings there are contracts, account books, personal letters and so on written in Sogdian, Uighur, Sanskrit, Han and many other minority characters. Most of the silks are representative cultural relics of the Silk Road, such as brocades, thin silks, and gauzes. All of the cultural relics and writings provide rare opportunities to study the history of the Wei and Jin (265-316), Northern and Southern (386-589), Sui (581-618) and Tang Dynasties (618-907).
Unearthed Archaic Body Exhibition Hall of Turpan
This is the most mysterious and attractive exhibition hall of the museum. In it are displayed 11 dry human remains from the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods to the Qing Period. These remains are mainly from the Astana-Harahojo, Subashi, and Yanghai Ancient Cemeteries. The dry, windy, and rainless natural environment of Turpan Basin provided for a speedy natural dehydration. The dry bodies of General Zhang Xun (Zhang Ning) and his wife are the most arresting in the hall. The body of Zhang Xun is hatchet-faced and displayed with a wig. The wig hair is mostly fastened up, but some hangs loosely on his shoulders in the customary manner of the Turki people. His wife is plump and matronly with silver hair. The bodies are intact and unbroken, and they have high scientific value for the study of archeology and history.
Large Rhinoceros Fossil Exhibition Hall
This hall was established in 1997. In it is displayed the fossil skeleton of a large rhinoceros. The large rhinoceros was the largest land mammal, living 20 to 33 million years ago. It is said that it could eat about 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) of leaves or grass every day. This large rhinoceros fossil is the most treasured artifact in the Turpan Museum. It is 5 meters (about 5 yards) high, and 9 meters (about 10 yards) long, with a weight of 30 tons (about 66,139 pounds). It is the most complete large rhinoceros fossil ever excavated.