Post house and Boatyard

Inside the post houses and boatyards, vehicles and ships are packed, waiting for the set-off. These are the scene of the past, showing the transportation conditions of the early days. Records about vehicles and ships could be dated 4,000 years ago, and being the important means of transportation, have accompanied the development of human civilization from the early ages. China is among the first countries to use ships and vehicles.

The iron tiles in the zigzag shapes, clench tight to the thick wooden wheels. Strong wooden axis support the column strengthened with many iron nails. The whole structure of the carriage stands like an old man who has known human joys and sorrows. Though the flaws from aging are all over his frame, he is still tough and strong, and is ready to carry on the arduous travel with heavy duty.

These wooden carriages, of various designs, were at that time the symbols of their owner's riches and status. The decoration and compartment of each carriage clearly shows its owner's social status and value. These carriages, with carved brass and iron decorating on the long shafts, just like the cars on the highway today, can be divided into official and private ones, and even the taxis.

Pushing "chicken carts", wheelbarrows on which the new wives sit to her family, horse-pulling carriages, mule carriages, four-wheel wooden chariots, dual-wheel wooden manure carts, donkey carriages, "grasshopper carts", Lele carts;sea boats, river boats, leather rafts, bamboo rafts, Miao dragon boats, Taiwan fishing boats, lotus-picking boats, manure boats, all of which are the folk's invention for transportation and production, suitable to local conditions. These tools based on the primitive mechanical structure, and exploiting human, animals and water as the source of driving force.

Wheelbarrows are manpower-driving vehicles. It extends the carrying capacity to human being. Single-shaft, dual-wheel carts are the common form of early animal-power vehicles. They were towed by tamed animals, boasting the advantages of larger carrying capacity, higher speed, and longer mileage. The four-wheel carriages came into being, mainly to adapt to the transportation on the wide roads in cities.

Though the ships were used for over thousand years earlier than the vehicles, the hull had been mainly of wooden structure for the limit of the special conditions of the sea and rivers. So, despite the development and maturation of the shipping techniques, the ships were still limited to the mutual relationship between sources of waterpower and manpower, and the new leaps that would change the rules of ship locomotion were not available.

The transportation tools and consequently the culture derived from it, because of the limit of the manpower and the animal power, had been long confined within the range of horse-carriages, man-power vehicles and boats before the steam engine was invented. Such kind of primitive conditions of transport lasted for several thousand of years, and it was not until the invention of the steam engine in 1712 that triggered a great revolution of human transport tools in the recent two hundred years. In some areas the primitive transport tools are still in use. These quasi-relics bear some relationship with the development of the modern society. This is the unique feature of the special exhibition of relics.

Collected from: Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Guizhou, Taiwan, Yunnan, Henan, Hebei, Jiangsu.

Time span: Song Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty to the Modern Times, about 800 years.

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