Cultural Museum, Hotan

Hotan Cultural Museum: depository of ancient relics

Hotan city is one of the cultural centers of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, an ancient oasis on the edge of the Takla Makan Desert. Over two thousand years, Hotan was part of major Central Asian states. Its history is rich and varied, as evidenced by many monuments of material and written culture displayed in the Hotan Cultural Museum or Hetian Cultural Museum.

Museum is relatively young. It was opened in 2005 in the center of the city. It has collected more than 10,000 monuments of ancient and medieval culture of the oasis, as well as some 600 written records, many of which are ancient Buddhist manuscripts.

One of the most popular exhibits is an ancient map with the Silk Road routes, which marked the dead city, many of which keep ancient secrets and mysteries of the history.

The Hotan Cultural Museum exposition is divided into two parts. On the ground floor, there is a collection of monuments of ancient civilizations, once existed in the territory of Eastern Turkestan. There you can see ceramic ware, jewelry, and household items. In addition, the museum features fragments of ancient tombs and sarcophagi, which are several thousand years old. One of the most valuable exhibits is considered two mummies of a girl and a man who are more than 1500 years old.

The museum’s first floor holds a collection, unofficially called the Uighur one. It opens an amazing and colorful world of Uighur culture to the museum visitors. There you can see ancient clothing and jewelry created by the hands of the ancient masters, as well as various Uighur artware.

The Hotan Cultural Museum dedicated to the Uighur culture, has two large expositions. One of them is a jade one. Hotan jade has already been mined for several millennia. Today Hotan possesses one of the largest deposits of jade. Local people have been handing down jade figurines and ornaments from generation to generation. The Hotan museum has collected the most ancient and beautiful artworks of Uighur jade craftsmen.

The second exposure is a carpet one. The history of carpet business of Hotan also extends back about two thousand years. When the Silk Road was in operation, silk carpets from Hotan were valued as high as those of Persian and Samarkand. The museum collection ranges from ancient rugs to modern samples of carpet art of the Uighurs.