Shaanxi Folk Art Museum
One of the best kept secrets of the Xaanxi Province is the Guanzhong Folk Art Museum, about an hour's drive from Xi'an. The museum is spread out over 82 acres at the foot of the South Wutai Mountains and houses the private collection of Mr. Wang Yongchao. The gorgeous space is built in typical Ming and Qing garden style and has more than 33,000 folk relics from the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties. The most awe-inspiring pieces are the 40 relocated Ming and Qing style ancient folk courtyards. Throughout the day you can catch Lao Qiang Opera performances in one of the courtyards. This style of opera is specific to the Shaanxi Province and originated during the Han dynasty around 206 BC. It nearly became extinct but there’s been a recent effort to revive the musical tradition. The performances are short—less than ten minutes long—and look and sound like a Chinese riff on American bluegrass.
By Jen Murphy, AFAR Contributor