Delve into Chinese history, culture, technology and art from the Shang dynasty onwards by exploring objects in the collection.

National Curriculum Subject Area/s: History, MFL
Length of session: 1 hour
Max group size: 32 pupils


  • Knowledge and understanding of using archaeological evidence to learn about the past.
  • Understanding more about the different kinds of materials, technologies and crafts.
  • Knowledge and understanding about trade links with China.
  • Awareness of similarities and differences between life in Ancient China and today.


This session explores Chinese history, culture, art and language starting with the Shang dynasty and moving on to explore the changes over time.

Activity 1: Evidence from objects and early writing. Using objects from the Shang dynasty children will learn more about life alongside the Yellow River. Pupils will look at objects made by skilled craftspeople in bronze and jade. They will find out about oracle bones and discover how some characters in Chinese writing have remained unchanged for nearly 3,000 years.

Activity 2: Looking closer. Using the Coromandel screen as their focus children will discover how Chinese objects were traded across the world.

Activity 3: Evidence from objects. Pupils will handle original artefacts to discover more about the materials used and objects made in China. They will search the galleries for objects made from a variety of these materials including silk, lacquer, jade and porcelain.