The Shenyang Palace Museum is located at Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. It was founded in 1926 and originally named the Museum of Three Eastern Provinces of China. When Shenyang was in the control of the Japanese aggressors in the 1930s, the name of the museum was changed into Fengtian Palace Museum. On August 5, 1986, it was finally settled down as the Shenyang Palace Museum.
The Museum was founded on the site of the former Shenyang Imperial Palace, which enjoys equal popularity as the Forbidden City. The Shenyang Imperial Palace was built in 1625 by Nurhachi when the Manchus declared Shenyang to be their capital. The museum has more than 300 Manchu-style buildings covering an area of 60,000 square meters, the layout of which appears to be natural, sublime and imposing.
Boasting more than 10,000 pieces of relics, the Museum now features 30-odd exhibition halls, including the Restored Palace Display, Palace Relics Display, Artworks of the Ming and Qing Dynasties and Exhibitions of the Qing Emperors' Life, etc.
Upon defeating the Ming (1368-1644), the Manchus moved their court to Beijing, and Shenyang became the accompanying capital mainly for emergency uses. The palace was enlarged and improved over the years. Its layout has the traditional Han style, and it also blends Manchu, Mongolian and Han style art.
The main structures were started in 1625 by Nurhachi and completed in 1636 by his son, Huang Taiji. Straight through the main gate at the far end of the courtyard is the main architecture on the east axis, the octagonal Dazhengdian (Hall of Great Affairs) with its coffered ceiling and an elaborate throne, built during the reign of Nurharchi.
In the courtyard in front of the hall are the Banner Pavilions, formerly administrative offices of tribal chieftains. They now house displays of 17th and 18th-century military equipments, swords, and bows. For instance, "The Tiger-veined Double-Edged Sword" is the most famous among all artifacts used by Nurhachi, the first emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). There are also such valuable cultural relics as waist sword, bow and arrow, "imperial jade seal, "jade belt", the chimes, and bells, etc.
Famous for its strong characteristics of the Manchu nationality and its abundant cultural relics, the Shenyang Palace Museum also exhibits a huge collection of musical instruments like Sheng, Xiao, Di and Luo, etc. In addition, there are a plenty of Ming and Qing paintings, porcelains, engravings, embroidery, art crafts and furniture as well.