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China Sports Museum
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China Sports Museum

China Sports Museum
The exterior of the China Sports Museum

The China Sports Museum is located in Beijing on the southeast side of the Olympic Center outside Anding Men. The building is quite extraordinary. It opens out like an octagonal fan, or like a whirlwind that is about to take off, symbolizing the powerful development of Chinese sports.

The Song dynasty One Hundred Play carved on stones.
The Song dynasty One Hundred Play carved on stones.

The China Sports Museum is the first specialized museum devoted to collecting, exhibiting, and researching sports culture and sports-culture history. It covers 7,100 square meters, including an exhibition area of 2,510 square meters. It holds seven exhibition halls altogether, that exhibit five main types of objects. A large stone?carved statue of a dragon boat greets the visitor in the main foyer. Dragon-boat racing is the quintessential traditional Chinese sport and therefore this fine, inlaid version of a dragon boat is appropriate.

The first hall holds the ancient Chinese sports section. This has a strong ethnic flavor: dragons coil up the golden pillars, palace lanterns are hung high above, everything feels ancient. The exhibition moves chronologically from pre-Qin, to Han and Three Kingdoms, Westerm and Easterm Jin, North and South dynasties, then Sui, Tang and Five dynasties, Song, Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing. All reflect the accomplishments of China's ancient sports development. Items displayed include photographs, pictures, rubbings, documents and historical material, and such archaeological works as the Tang dynasty polo players.

The second hall is for China's modern sports from 1840 up to the year 1949, explaining the changes in this period through the use of historical photographs and actual objects. For example, the earliest China football team cards, dating from 1902, are displayed; there is a special edition of a 1904 sports magazine, photographs of China's participation in the first Far East Sports Rally, the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and so on.

The third, fourth and fifth halls exhibit the sports accomplishments of the People's Republic of China. Using more than 500 objects and more than 500 photographs, this portrays the support of the party and the government for sports enterprises. It includes competitive sports as well as general recreation sports, and covers sports arena design, sports psychology, and so on, all of these reflecting the past forty years of Chinese sports accomplishments. The sixth hall uses more than 300 photographs and around 500 objects to display special qualities of China's various regions and 56 national minorities. It portrays local traditional sports in particular.

After visiting this museum, Samaranchi, the former Chairman of the International Olympic Committee noted that, ' The China Sports Museum is one of the best sports museums I have seen in the world.

Address: Beijing City, Anding Men Wai, Anding Road, #3A
Telephone: 86-10-64912167

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