Mausoleum of the Nanyue King is officially known as the Western Han Museum of the Nanyue King Mausoleum (西汉南越王博物馆). If you are interested in history or archiology, Mausoleum of the Nanyue King is a nice place to go on your short Guangzhou tour.
The museum is built on the burial site of Zhao Mo, the second king of Nanyue Kindom that existed for 93 years (203 BC – 111 BC) with 5 successive kings. Nanyue Kingdom was a dependent state of Western Han Dynasty in China (202BC- 9AD). The first king of Nanyue was Zhao Tuo who was sent here as one of local officials to quell the unrest at the end of Qin Dynasty (221BC－207BC) preceding Western Han Dynasty.
In the chaotic course of transition from Qin Dynasty (221BC－207BC) to Western Han Dynasty (202BC- 9AD), Zhao Tuo established his own kingdom in Lingnan Region with Guangzhou as his capital. His and other four later kings of Nanyue Kingdom had a hard time with Western Han Dynasty going through ups and turns, interwoven between wars and harmony.
Finally the kingdom was wiped off in the year 111BC by the Western Han Dynasty, hence the name for the museum – the Western Han Museum of the Nanyue King Mausoleum.
The tomb was discovered incidentally in June, 1983 when people were digging and measuring to build new apartments here. So the construction had to stop to make way for the building of the magnificent museum. In 1988 then museum was open to the public with a construction area of 17400 square meters.
The museum is mainly composed of three structures – the three-storey comprehensive exhibition hall by the Jiefang North Road, the burial site of the Nanyue King and another two-storey exhibition hall. The burial site is on Xianggang Hill just behind the three-storey comprehensive building. North of the burial site is the two-storey exhibition hall.
The three-storey Comprehensive Exhibition Hall displays a ceramic pillow exhibition and other special exhibition events like the Guangzhou exhibitions that are often changed. The two-storey Principal Exhibition Hall mainly accommodates the relics discovered for the tomb of the Zhao Mo in Nanyue Kingdom period.
How to get to the Nanyue Kingdom Museum
While you are in Guangzhou, try o find your nearest subway station. Take metro Line 2 ( or interchange from other metro lines ) and get off at the station of Yuexiu Park (越秀公园) using Exit E. Walking along the sideway to the north direction for about 5 minutes, you will see a vermilion building – Guangzhou Mausoleum of Nanyue King.
Add: No. 867, Jiefang North Road, Guangzhou Zip Code: 510040
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:30
It is open all year round except Feb 28 and August 31 – the two days are closed for restoration.
Entrance fee: free of Charge
Now follow me to have a glimpse of the great museum in Guangzhou. All the items on show have their English captions. The museum also have audio English speaking tour guide service.
The vermilion facade of the museum. Add: No. 867, Jiefang North Road, Guangzhou
The Comprehensive Exhibition Hall
When you enter the museum, you are inside the Comprehensive exhibition Hall, a 3-storey building. You may walk up to the second or third floor to visit Pottery Pillow Show or other special exhibitions.
The exhibition hall is quite flexible in displaying different themed exhibitions except one fixed show – Ceramic Pillows Show.
Over 200 porcelain pillows housed in a permanent exhibitioon gallery – Ceramic Pillows Exhibition Gallery on the second floor in the 3-storey exhibiton hall. All the pottery pillows are donated by the Hong Kong famous collector and industralist Yeung Wing Tak and his wife.
The Yeungs are ardent collectors and lovers of pottery and porcelain. Their main interest is focused on the collection of ceramic pillows. Through years of collection, they have built up a collection of over 200 pottery pillows.
They think all the works of arts are the common cultural heritage of mankind. They decided to donate all their collection to the public aimed at letting more people appreciate the ceratic pillow culture.
Beside the pillow show, the comprehensive exhibition hall also display the artifacts unearthed within Guangdong Province.
The Tomb of Zhao Mo, the Second King of Nanyue Kingdom
The highlight for the museum is the tomb of Zhao Mo. The tomb was buried 20 meters underground on Xianggang Hill. The tomb is composed of the Tomb passage, an antechamber, the East Side Chamber, the West Side Chamber, the Main Coffin Room, East Side Room, West Side Room and the Rear Store Room.
A pyramid-style glass cover atop the unearthed tomb on Xianggang Hill west of the Comprehensive Exhibition Hall and south of The Principal Exhibition Hall.
the Tomb Passager
Enter the antechamber and explore the underground tomb
Visiting the East Side Room
The tomb was built with over 700 huge stones and slabs carved with colorful murals. A great number of ancient artifacts, bronzeware and terra cotta ware were discovered.
The King of Zhao Mo was in the jade shroud with typical jade burial rite. In addition, 15 human sacrifices found in the tomb reflects the unique burial customs.
The Principal Exhibition Hall
The Principal Exhibition Hall displays the artifacts unearthed from Zhao Mo’s Tomb. It is estimated that over 1000 artifacts have been excavated from the tomb, including cultural relics of bronze and pottery of Lingnan style, 3 sets of bronze bells instruments, 39 copper mirrors, 3 golden seals and 240 pieces of unearthed jade, the Zhao Mo’s burial jade suit and the world’s first coated copper printing mold.
The unearthed objects are regarded as the light and national treasures of Lingnan culture.
Walk up to the Principal Exhibition Hall
Zhao Mo was in jade shroud
The unearthed jade carving
Tip : Hassle-free Guangzhou Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Guangzhou:
Top 10 Attractions in Guangzhou
How to Visit Guangzhou in One Day
Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruises
How to Visit Chen Clan Ancestral Hall Guangzhou
How to Visit Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
How to Visit Kaiping Diaolou from Guangzhou
Any questions, just drop a line.