The Human Cultures Hall includes six main areas: Chinese Medicine, Chinese Science and Technology, Agricultural Ecology, Ancient Chinese, The Spiritual Life of Han People, The Culture of Taiwan Austronesian and Oceania.
1F Chinese Medicine
In the unit that introduces the history of TCM, the evolution of the Chinese character for medicine, the world’s earliest model of the human body—a bronze acupuncture statue, manual describing the meridians, acupuncture points and moxibustion points on the bronze statue and important events in TCM history are described. In addition, the earliest records of illnesses and treatment methods were inscribed on oracle bones during the Shang Dynasty, while the oldest surviving medical literature was excavated from a tomb at Mawuangdui. Other exhibit topics include famous physicians from the Warring States Period to the Han Dynasty, famous TCM texts from the Warring States Period to the Tang Dynasty, TCM’s contribution to immunology, the development of forensic medicine, Shih-jen Lee—a great pharmacist, TCM’s influence on the world, the influence of Western scientific methods on TCM and medical treatment systems in Taiwan.
1F Herb Garden
Just outside the Chinese Medicine exhibit area is an herb garden. In this garden are over 100 species of living medicinal plants. The medicinal plants chosen for this garden had to meet the following criteria: (1) well-suited to Taichung’s climate; (2) common enough that visitors have at least heard of them or even used them and (3) perennial plants were given preferential consideration over annuals. Each of the plants is accompanied by a sign introducing its scientific name and therapeutic effects.
1F Chinese Science and Technology
This exhibit area attempts to trace Chinese scientific and technological achievements through the use of relics and historical records.
Such achievements include the Chao Chou Bridge, which has stood for a thousand years. This bridge was built with a segmental arch, a method widely adopted by contemporary engineers. In addition, the watertight compartment, currently used in modern shipbuilding all over the world, can be traced back to the Chou Dynasty, when junks were built to travel the waterways.
Towards the end of the Han Dynasty, the Chinese invented an apparatus for astronomical observations. By the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 AD), a water-powered clock was already in use. In the Northern Sung Dynasty, the Chinese developed a tower, which was the combination of a waterpowered clock, a celestial globe and an armillary sphere. This as one of the most important scientific and technological chievements.
High quality, exquisite lacquer ware was in extensive use from the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC) to the Han Dynasty. Relics excavated from the Mawuangdui tombs and evidence of lacquerware used by the Ho-Mu-Tu culture 7,000 years ago, point to China’s glorious past of scientific and technological advancements.
1F Agricultural Ecology
Agriculture is one of the most major and important economic activities. Ten thousand years ago, humans lived a hunter and gatherer existence. Two thousand years ago, people began to cultivate wild plants and to domesticate wild animals. The production of food began to take place in a number of places around the world almost simultaneously. Agriculture allowed humans to build more stable settlements and led to an increase in population and the development of civilizations, as well as changes in the natural environment.
2F Story Telling by the Ancient People
In recent years, Pleistocene human fossils and sites have been found in Mainland China, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Okinawa, and Northern Philippines. The fossils remind us that the "Paleolithic Age" has intriguing unansweren question such as when and where the Paleolithic people came from.
The Significant Discovery in Taiwan - Anhe Mother and Infant.
The Tapenkeng cultural layer of the Anhe site contains 48 densely arranged skeletons, and is currentle the earliest cemetery found in central Taiwan Specimens M13 and M15 contain many burial goods. M46, the man with the shark-tooth-shaped nephrite ornament, and the mother with her infant are representative of these burials.
2F Spiritual Life of the Han Chinese
To achieve a long and healthy life, the ancient Han Chinese believed in a nutritious diet, prayer, meditation and periodic fasting. In addition, they studied how to guide the flow of “chi”—energy—throughout the body, and even produced special medicines. However, knowing that death would eventually come, they planned for life in the afterworld, which was considered to be a reflection of life and society on Earth.
Since ancient times, the Han Chinese have mixed myths and legends developed from observations of the Heavens, and have combined Confucian theory with Taoist naturalism. The Han Chinese believe that man is deeply connected to the universe. Although one concept holds that an individual is the center of the universe, an equally important concept is to respect others. The Han Chinese place particular importance on ethics, social hierarchy and blood relationships. In addition, they emphasize that man is a miniature of the universe, and that man and the universe are one. Thus, from the development of the universe, comes the development of man. And, from the universe, man receives enlightenment, all part of the plan of the spiritual world.
2F The Culture of Taiwan Austronesian
In recent years, the number of officially recognized indigenous tribes has increased from nine to 16. They include the Thao, Kamalan (Kavalan), Truku (Taroko), Sakizaya, Sediq, Yami (Tao), Bunun, Atayal, Saisiyat, Tsou, Amis, Puyuma, Rukai, Paiwan, Hla'alua and Kanakanavu tribes, all of which belong to the Austronesian language family. This exhibition area introduces the history and traditions of these tribes and sheds light on their current situations and expectations for the future to highlight the distinct and diverse cultures of Taiwan.
There are 10 main themes of this exhibition area: Islands of the Pacific Ocean; Origin and Spread of Oceania’s Peoples; Ethnic Groups and Societies; Indigenous Knowledge and Descriptions; Ocean; Land; Warfare and Society; Settlements, Dwellings and Culture; Body and Art and Diversity and Change. On display are 249 cultural objects including carved statues, eating utensils, canoes, weapons, ornaments and masks, etc., with emphasis on the material culture of Papua New Guinea. The majority of objects were collected by the late Max Liu and his son Ning-sheng Liu and donated to the museum.