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Xinjiang Museum

Location:132 Xi Bei Lu (West North Road) in Urumqi, Xinjiang Region
Opening time:10:00-17:00 daily
Best time for visit: all year long
Recommended time for a visit:1 hours
Open:10:00-17:00 daily

How to Get There

1) From the Hongshan intersection, take Bus 7 for a few stops and ask to get off at the museum .


The many Caucasian graves and bodies that have been found around the region are mysterious because little is known about them, and it isn't clear whether they were all descended from the same groups or tribes. The bodies and artifacts of Caucasians date from the Bronze Age 4,000 years ago to the Silk Road era 1,500 years ago. Maybe some of the later mummies were simply travelers or traders in the area. It is clear that there were settlements of Caucasians about 3,000 and 4,000 years ago that predate by about 1,000 years any evidence of Mongoloid people. This suggests that the original settlers in the region were Caucasians. The earliest inhabitants had a culture like a European culture. The Caucasian people who lived during the Silk Road era from about 1 AD to 1,000 AD wrote in an Indo-European language called Tocharian. Some texts and inscriptions have been found as well as paintings of Caucasian people.
The three or four mummies and the artifacts that are displayed are thought to be part of one of the biggest archeological discoveries of the past hundred years. They shed new light on the ancient history of Eurasia. It wasn't known that this culture existed until about twenty years ago. It was thought that Caucasians mainly lived in Europe. DNA testing on certain mummies showed that they were related to Scandinavians, and their woolen clothing was found to be similar in make and style to clothing from the same period in Europe. The blond mummies look Scandinavian. There are also many red and brown haired mummies. Red hair was thought to be typical of Celts but not Scandinavians. The clothing and artifacts that have been studied in the last few years show that their technology was more advanced than thought possible for Asia at that time. So in the last few years, historians have had to rewrite the history of Eurasia. It is obvious that Central Asia was linked culturally to Europe.
Perhaps it was Caucasian people who supplied jade to the Shang Dynasty, since the jade found in a Shang Dynasty (1766-1122 B.C.) tomb is known to be from an area of Xinjiang near Tibet. It is known that Chinese highly valued jade. Jade was considered even more valuable than gold or other gemstones, but Europeans and other people to the west didn't regard the mineral so highly. Perhaps before there was a "Silk Road" trade for Chinese silks there was a "Jade Road." However, not much is known about these Bronze Age people. The government has been reluctant to allow archeological or DNA information be known about them. It is said that many tombs that have been found remained unopened and that sites and very ancient cities that were open in the 1990s are now closed off to tourists.

More is known about the later Caucasians in Xinjiang who are often called Tocharians. It is known that Caucasian Tocharians lived along Silk Road routes and played a role in converting China to Buddhism. They built Buddhist temples and cities in Turpan and along the Silk Road. They apparently left behind documents and samples of writing that shows that there were two similar Indo-European languages used in the area.
One thing that is interesting about the mummies is how well dressed they are. The clothing is more colorful and looks more comfortable than what people wear nowadays. You may see a mummy called the Yingpan Man who was 1.8 meters tall (6 feet tall) and died around 400 or 500 AD. He had light brown hair. At the time he died, the Silk Road was still used. He has a robe that is said to be from the Eastern Roman Empire. His clothing is said to be about the most expensive and best preserved clothing that has been found from his time anywhere in the world. People suspect that he was rich. The clothing that has been found so far on the Caucasian mummies of various eras is beautiful and very well made, and their artifacts are decorated intricately. Perhaps they were buried in their best clothing and some of their best personal objects were put in their tombs. There are gold objects on display, and gold foil is on the Yingpan Man's facemask.


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