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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:40 am  Reply with quoteBack to top


The Rise of the Black Dragon ...
A dense web of towns and villages spreads across northeastern China's vast, agriculturally productive Manchurian Plain. From time to time, the daily activities of local villagers disturb the rich historical fabric of this landscape, revealing something of China's ancient history. This was the case for villagers working in Acheng County, near Harbin, Heilongjiang. Excavating in the west wall of the Jin Dynasty (A.D. 1115-1234) capital, known as Shangjing, they stumbled upon an exquisite, sitting bronze dragon. The reasons for burying the little dragon in Shangjing's walls centuries ago remain a mystery, but we do know that Jin Emperor Shizong ceased using a sitting bronze dragon on his imperial carriage in A.D. 1166.

[Dragon] This remarkable dragon served as the signature piece for the Provincial Museum of Alberta's Rise of the Black Dragon: Cultural Treasures from China exhibition, featuring 187 artifacts from Heilongjiang, China. The exhibition ran from October 9 1999 to January 9 2000. Visitors to the exhibition learned more about why the dragon came to be buried in an ancient city's walls.

The largest of the provinces in Dongbei, China's northeast, Heilongjiang occupies a substantial part of the region formerly known in the west as Manchuria. The province takes its name from the Mandarin words for the Amur River, known to the Chinese as the "Black Dragon River," which marks the boundary between China and Siberia.

Dragon imagery played an important role in communicating the central theme of the exhibition, which traced the impact of northeastern China and its peoples on the Chinese state generally.

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