Nanyang Museum of Han Stone Gravings, Henan, China

Recently, I traveled abroad with about 20 other teachers to Southern Henan during the Fall Holiday.  We hired a tour guide to arrange our trip, and one of the places on his list was the Nanyang Museum of Han Stone Gravings. 

This was a really fascinating place. The museum holds hundreds of stones engraved with various pictures and images collected from ancient Han tombs. We were told that they were more than 1000 years old!

I was intrigued by the carvings themselves. Naturally, they varied on the subject of their work – dinners, hunting, musicians, kings and counsels. It’s always neat to see art demonstrating the use of ancient musical instruments or to watch fashions change as the years go by. But I was really interested to see some of the animals are actually pre-historic. One was clearly a dinosaur (you know the kind that is Sarah on The Land Before Time?). Two were dragons, but only one had wings.

You kind of expect the dragons, but the differences in how they were depicted suggests two origins to the dragon legend. One was wingless and quite fat. The other had wings and was longer and thinner. Add in the dinosaur, and it was all really cool!