Related News

Home » Feature

Wushu museum packs a punch

WATCHING 3D virtual humans perform an ancient story around you is a lot of fun. And this wasn't in a cinema but at a museum - the only wushu (martial arts) museum in China.

Chinese Wushu Museum, which was founded in 2007 inside Shanghai University of Sports, covers 2,000 square meters. Wushu, a little different from kung fu, is performed both as an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. These days wushu is a truly international sport.

The virtual video mentioned above is just one of several high-tech programs visitors can interact with. The Chinese Wushu Museum will add 15 more similar programs so that visitor can experience what it feels like to fly over the eaves and walls by jumping on a machine mat, keep your balance on meihuazhuang (quincuncial piles), dodge darts like Kino does in the film "Matrix," or even fight Bruce Lee.

"We want to publicize Chinese wushu culture and build a wushu platform with this museum. We didn't know that we were the first to build a wushu museum until it was founded," says Wang Zhen, vice director of the museum.

"We visited many places in China to recover these exhibits over the past three years," says Wang. "But we didn't have any experience in building up and running a museum. Fortunately we got some help from experts at Fudan University and Shanghai Commission of Cultural Relics."

Walking into the museum, visitors see a map of China on the floor. Blue and red bulbs reveal the homes of 129 Chinese martial arts sects, and seven LCD screens show videos of the different styles.

The museum has about 2,000 exhibits, but only about 500 of them are on display at one time. The museum shows the beauty of wushu culture and provides a fascinating look at some ancient weapons.

Some of the collections date back as far as the pre-Qin Dynasty period (before 221 BC).

The General Compound Sword cast in the Warring States Period (476-221 BC) is representative of the Bronze Age. Chinese bronze pieces first appeared about 6,000 years ago toward the end of the Stone Age. For 4,000 years, bronze weapons were the most predominant ones in the country.

The sword features two colors, and is the oldest item in the museum. "People used tin to adjust a sword's flexibility in the Bronze Age °?- too much tin can make the sword sharp but easy to snap, but less tin ensures the sword is strong but not sharp enough," Wang says. "But the General Compound Sword used a high percentage of tin on the outside and a low percent inside, thus enabling the sword to be sharp and flexible. That's why it has two colors."

A spear, which is nearly 3 meters long, was a real war spear for soldiers in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It features a bronze spearhead and a bamboo stick wrapped with reinforcing steel.

"This weapon was used to stab enemy horses' legs, and it shows the delicate craftsmanship of ancient weapon makers," says museum official, who only identifies himself as Li. "The bamboo stick is light and flexible, and the outer steel ensures the spear is strong."

The museum is divided into a weapons hall, history hall and multimedia area.

The history hall displays the development of wushu chronologically, from primitive society to modern times. It also explains how wushu was invented and eventually developed into an international competition.

A wooden stele in the history hall reads "Zhuang Yuan Ji Di." It was awarded to a warrior named Huang Renyong, who won theNo.1 in the Imperial Military Examination, in the Qing Dynasty.

"The Imperial Military Examination was used to select military talents in ancient China, and competitors were tested in archery, equestrianism, stone lifting, and holding the 'Green Dragon Crescent Blade' up with one hand."

The Green Dragon Crescent Blade is well known in China because a famous general Guan Yu used it as a weapon during the Three Kingdoms Dynasty (220-280 AD). The blade in the museum is from the Qing Dynasty and weighs about 80 kilograms.

"I can't imagine how they held it, I cannot even move it a little when I kick it," visitor Jenny Ji says.

Also on display are some peculiar weapons like blossom darts, a bronze tomahawk, a nine-section whip, a chain attacker hidden in sleeves (xiu jian) as well as nearly 200 wushu instruction manuals including "Bin Fa," a military tactics book like "The Art of War," and "Quan Pu," a teaching book on fist martial arts.

Address: 650 Qingyuanhuan Rd

Date: Every Wednesday, 1pm-4pm; Saturday, 9am-noon

Admission: Free

Tel: 5125-3213, 5125-3386


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend