The museum is constructed directly above the site of the former West Market of the Tang dynasty (618-907) capital Chang’an (modern Xi’an). The exhibition is entitled “Starting Point of the Silk Road – Merchant Spirits of Flourishing Age“. It is Chinas first archaeological on-site museum in private hands.
The museum complex was officially opened in 2010. It covers an overall size of 32.000 m² among which almost 8.000 m² are used for displays. The archaeological site was integrated into the museum and covers about 2.500 m². The collection comprises altogether 20.000 objects.
The Tang West Market Museum is part of the „Tang King Market“-project with the Tang dynasty and Silk Road as its main topics. It forms the key project of the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) of the city of Xi’an and Shaanxi Province, which is part of the “Ancient Capital Recovery Program”. This total size of this project adds up to 1.280.000 m². The whole project is regarded as an innovative approach as it combines the aspects of preservation and protection of the ancient culture and relics with modern life. As a result, antique and gold markets as well as an art centre, boutiques and various restaurants offering dishes typical for the Silk Road regions were built during a first construction phase. Beside these shopping and entertainment facilities, a luxury hotel, an international trading centre as well as residential buildings will be constructed during the second construction phase.
The museum houses the following exhibitions:
1. Permanent Exhibition (基本陈列) “A Thriving Trade Centre at the Starting Point of the Silk Road”
2. Thematic Exhibition (专题陈列) “Experience of Craftwork on Silk Road”
3. Temporary Exhibition (临时陈列)
4. Special Exhibition (特别展览) “Gem of Museum Collections”
In addition to the exhibition area, a trading street in style of the Tang dynasty West Market was reconstructed and included into the museum. Contemporary goods are produced and sold at various stalls to make the visitors experience the past as authentic as possible.