Nanjing has been an important city from the start of the nation, from being the capital city of several Dynasties (most notably the Ming Dynasty) and the Republic government. Alas, the importance of this city also brought war, rebellion, occupation by several foreigners countries, conflicting government dispute and a bloody massacre . I visit two museums that show the bloody path the city went through and how culture and perseverance prevail. One of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom History Museum and the other one is the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.

Taiping Kingdom History Museum (太平天国历史博物馆)

I mostly walk here since it’s around 10 minutes walk or so from Sunflower Youth International hostel where I stay. The admission is 10 CYN.

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The small museum of the Taiping Kingdom

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Murals of the Taiping rebels

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Mural of the suffering of the people

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Opium lamps, pipes, trays and silver ingots.

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Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全), the Taiping Heavenly King (太平天王)

Raised from the peasant background, a teacher and preaching Christianity. He rose prominently as a leader, mostly with the Hakka tribe. He rebelled and take Nanjing as the new capital of his Heavenly Kingdom. The Kingdom is short live however and was defeated but not without casualty on the streets of Nanjing when the Qing force and its Western allies attached the city and killed thousands of Hakka people.

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Armors, Rattan shield, saddles used in the Jintian Uprising (金田起義). The Jintian village (now Guiping, Guangxi) is the first revolt against the military and government at the time.

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The Heavenly King’s Jade seal and the rubbing

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Wood block for printing the front cover of odes for youths, printed by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in 1851

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Various books printed by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom

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Identification tags of the Taiping Soldiers

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Weapons of the Taiping soldiers

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Uniform of the Taiping soldiers

Battle tactics and military formation of the Taiping force

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The flag of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom

Coins, monetary system of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom

Short it may be but Taiping Heavenly Kingdom also produce arts and mostly peasantry folk arts that the common people like. The painting and art focus on dragons, phoenixes, lions, tigers, elephants and other animals as symbol of auspice.

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A gilded wood roof beam in the Taiping Central Heavenly Treasury in Nanking

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Taiping Silk covering the chairs and table

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Taiping painting landscape of swallow crag

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Taiping jacket embroidery with dragon

There’s also a small annex with Miao minority that I probably share in another post and check out the garden of the museum. It has a lovely yet small Chinese garden with different… framing. I love taking photo of them.

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Love the waterfall and the arrangement of the plants.nanjing-209

Looks like a school day’s out

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Grandfather and his grandson

After a quick lunch at Fujimiao area, I take the subway again to the next destination stoping at Yunjinlu Station (云锦路站).

The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall (侵華日軍南京大屠殺遇難同胞紀念館).

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The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall was established in 1985 to remember the victims of the Nanjing Massacre as many as 300,000 people were killed by the invading Japanese army back in 1937. It’s known the the world as “The Rape of Nanking” in World War II. The current position of the museum was built on the execution ground and burial where thousands of corpse were burried.

The ultra modern and unique design combine a slick and minimalist structure with a large open space and memorial halls around the venue. Yet the gruesome depicting of the victims are rendered in rough black statues, hard and expression in agony/suffering/despair. It make me wince coz as Asian, much of South East Asia also suffered from the brutality of the Japanese army during the 40’s-50’s.

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Memorial stone to commemorate those who died at Zhengjue Temple

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Burial place

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Jiangdong Gate is the site of mass slaughter in the Nanjing Massacre. As much as more than 10,000 victims are killed here. The bones discovered in the pit are distorted and disorder since forensic discovered the victims are bayonet or shot.

The Museum display letters, correspondence, testimonial, artifacts, photographs, news and war display, telling the history of the massacre. Chilling, if I have to say to my self.

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The weapon used by the Japanese army

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Log book and medal owned by one of the Japanese soldier at that time

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John Rabe

He’s a business man lived in Nanjing and a witness to the crime. He help and headed “The Internatinal Committee of the Nanking Safety Zone” with several foreigners to provide safe haven for the refugees.

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The 16mm camera and films by American priest, John Magee, as another witness to the massacre.

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Minnie Vautrin, a missionary of US, provided hospice to the refugees at Jinling Women’s Institute of Arts and Science.

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The copy of the list of victims in the burial.

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Articles belonging to the Japanese soldiers.

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Prints from the war

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The Japanese army surrendered to China in 1945

Much of the Nanjing Massacre is still vague in Japan, but both governments has since joint in research, preservation and history of the Sino-Japanese conflict and what happened in Nanjing.

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In 6 weeks, as much as 300,000 people were killed. On average, there was a lost of life in every 12 seconds. In the hall there’s a “tick” sound of the clock, a drop of water falls and a photo of the victim appear. Every 12 seconds.

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Source: Historvius, Cultural China, Bamboo Compass, Wikipedia, Nanjing Memorial Hall Museum website, Nanjing.Jiansu.Net