Address: Old site: 26 Yingbin Road, Kaifeng, Henan province
New site: The Sixth Street, Zhengkai Avenue, Kaifeng , Henan province
Website: www.kfsbwg.com (Cn)
Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (last ticket: 16:00)
Closed Mondays (except for national holidays)
Tel: (+86 371) 23933624
General admission: Free (passport required for entry)
About 1,000 year ago, a painter, most likely Zhang Zeduan, ambitiously executed a long scroll featuring the busy yet prosperous life in the city of Kaifeng, capital of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Titled "Life along the Bian River on the Pure Brightness Festival" (Qingming shanghe tu), the painting is a national treasure, often imitated by later artists. More importantly, adopting a panoramic view it vividly depicts the cityscape, the river canal, and people from different walks of life - peasants, laborers, merchants, craftsmen, beggars, and itinerant monks; a visual resource for scholars and historians studying the city. It is safely kept in the Palace Museum in Beijing, and is seldom unrolled due to its old age and fragility.
If you are eager to glimpse the former glory of Kaifeng suggested by Qingming shanghe tu, the Kaifeng Museum is the best choice to start.
As the middle section of the Grand Canal built in the Sui Dynasty (581-618), the Bian River running through Kaifeng is a major waterway linking the Yangtze River in the south and the Yellow River in the north. From the late 6th century to the 13th century, Kaifeng was thus part of a pivotal water transportation network. It became an international metropolis with booming economy and culture.
The Kaifeng Museum's permanent exhibitions primarily feature the city from remote antiquity to modern times, with one specially dedicated to the city portrayed in Zhang Zeduan's painting.
Also recommended are the time-honored New Year woodblock prints from Zhuxian town, Kaifeng, showing "living fossils of Chinese folk art" with subject matters covering door gods, good fortune, and traditional opera stories; and the carved stones dated to the Northern Wei (386-534), Sui (581-618), and Tang (618-907) dynasties consisting of buried gravestones, sarcophaguses, Buddhist sculptures, and pictorial tomb bricks, a solid heritage of Chinese calligraphy masterpieces bearing precious historical information.