The Earliest 899 Specimens
The beginning of the Geological Museum of China was the showroom of the Institute of Geology under the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce in 1916.
The Revolution of 1911 overthrew the Qing Dynasty.Next year,Dr.Sun Yat-sen established a provisional government in Nanjing. A division of geology was established within the Department of Minerals of the Ministry of Industry of the new government. Mr Zhang Hongzhao was appointed the head of this division.
The Division of Geology is the principal administrative body in charge of geology in China. Since 1912,the Chinese government has had a formal organization to oversee geological affairs. Soon after the Revolution of 1911,the authorities in southern and northern China reached a reconciliation,and the provisional government moved to Beijing in April 1912. The Beijing government established the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The Division of Geology was placed under the Department of Mining and Minerals of this Ministry. Zhang Hongzhao remained the head of the division. He was succeeded by Ding Wenjiang in February 1913.
On September 4,1913,Ding was appointed both as the Director of the GeologicaI Survey,established within the Division of Geology,and the Director of the Institute of Geology.
The Institute of Geology actually served as geological school. Zhang Yiou,head of the Department of Mining and Minerals of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Ding Wenjiang established various rules for the institute. Later,Ding went to Yunnan on an order to conduct certain geological surveys. The Ministry appointed Zhang Hongzhao the Director Of the lnstitute. In the autumn of 1913,it enrolled 30 students and the school opened on October 1. “At first we used the old site of the Geological Department of Peking University as classroom for lectures. At that time,alI books and specimens were borrowed from Peking University.”The address of the schooI was Peking University at Mashenmiao,Jingshan East street (present-day No.55 Shatan Rear Street).“...Chinese norms students studying Chinese geology by following Chinese norms in a Chinese school thus began.”It was planned that after three years of study the students would serve as professional workers for the Institute of Geology. In 1914,Weng Wenhao joined the teaching staff of the school.
As the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in 1914,the Institute of Geology became a subordinate organization of the new Ministry. In the summer of 1915,the Institute of Geology and the Geological Survey moved from Mashenmiao and Fenzi alleyways respectively to No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway(present-day No.6 Bingmasi Alleyway)and No.9 Bingmasi Alleyway(present- day No.15 Bingmasi Alleyway).
Group photo of teachers and students of the Geological Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce taken in 1916.Zhang Hongzhao
(second from left,front row)Ding Wenjiang(third from left,front row),Weng Wenhao(first from left,front row),Lu Zuyin (fourth from left,back row).
Zhang Hongzhao(right)and Li Jie at Badaling Great Wall in the summer of 1914.
The Institute of Geology gave much attention to fieldwork in its teaching program.According to the Overview of the Institute of Geology of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce,within three years,“dozens of field trips have been organized,and the students have been to all places．The nearest being the Jifu area,the furthest places could be several hundred kilometers away such as Shandong,Shanxi,Jiangsu,Anhui,and Jiangxi,and acquired a basic knowledge of the geology in those places. It will be very helpful to future surveys.”Three years later,that is in 1916,18 students graduated. They were Wang Zhuquan(1891~1975),Ye Liangfu(1 894~1949),Li Jie(1894~1977),Li Xueqing(1892~1977),Lu Zuyin(1889~1976),Zhu Tinghu(1895~1984),Zhou Zanheng(1893~1967),Xie Jiarong(1898~1966),Tan Xiehou(1892~1952),Zhao Zhixin(189l~1973),Liu Jichen(1895~?),Xu Yuanmo(1894~1968),Xu Weiman(1895~1974)，Tong Buying(?~?),Qi Xizhi(?~?),Chen Shuping(1886~?),Yang Peilun(1893~?),and Zhang Hui(?~?).Another four students who studied there but did not graduate were Zhao Rujun,Ma Bingduo,Tang Zaiqin and Liu Shicai. The Institute of Geology produced the first group of geologists for the nation,and many of them became the backbone of China’s early geological studies programs. The students,led by their teachers,went to six or seven provinces,made ascents of high mountains,went deep into valleys,collecting as several thousand specimens of rocks,minerals,and fossils.
On July 14,1916. The Institute of Geology held a graduation ceremony in No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway. Simultaneously,the “Exhibition Of Achievements of Students”was held, displaying the specimens of rocks,minerals collected by the students and teachers over the past few years. Detailed illustrations and photos taken during the fieldwork were also displayed. Li Guozhen, vice minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce,with a number of officials,came to offer their congratulations. Zhang Hongzhao,director of the institute,and teachers Ding Weniiang and Weng Wenhao made speeches.After the ceremony,all visitors,Chinese and foreign,toured the exhibition. The exhibition had been prepared by Lu Zuyin and other students.
899 objects were displayed in the exhibition of the Institute of Geology under the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. The exhibition was a manifestation of the achievements of the students,while the exhibition served as a place for visits and study.The teachers and the students of the Institute were the collectors of all the geological specimens.
The specimens exhibited included：
one case of 30 items(Archean and Proterozoic)；
one case of 20 items (Cambrian)；
one case of 34 items (Ordovician and Devonian)；
one case of 46 items(Carboniferous)；
two cases of 25 items(Carboniferous and Permian)；
one case of 34 items(Permian and Triassic)；
one case of 37 items (Jurassic)；
one case of 21 items (Tertiary and Quaternary)；
three cases of 112 items(Igneous rocks)；
18 cases of over 500 items(from various provinces and mining areas).
As a matter of fact,in early 1913,when the Institute of Geology was still being prepared,Ding Wenjiang pointed out,when elaborating on the necessity and importance of the establishment of a geological museum:“Without a fairly large number of books,abundant collection of specimens,the study of materials collected from fieldwork would go no where. We may buy books,but specimens are mostly scattered in the museums in Europe and America. Even the most ordinary ones cannot be acquired at the market. So the only way was to collect as many specimens as possible in China. ...Or in those three years，our teaching would have been groundless，and any survey conducted three years later would still have no basis...”
Ding Wenjiang put together a plan:“Establishing a library and a museum in the Institute;collecting books about geology, and using the specimens as materials for research.”
In the history of science in China this was the earliest consideration given to establishing a geology museum.
On February 2,1916，the Geological Survey,while under the Department of Mining and Minerals,was upgraded to the status of its own department with an independent budget under the direct leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. Zhang Yiou,head of the Department of Mining and Minerals concurrently assumed the director of the new department.Ding wenjiang and a Swedish advisor named J.G.Andersson were appointed deputy directors. Ding was the de facto executive director. The department comprised four divisions and one institution,namely,Geology, Minerals,Topography,Compilation and Translation and the Geological and Mineral Museum. On February 10,Zhang Hongzhao was appointed as head of the Geology Division and concurrently as head of the Compilation and Translation Division;Weng wenhao as head of the Minerals Division and concurrently as head of the Topography Division. Ding Wenjiang was made the Director of the Geological and Mineral Museum.
This is how the first director of the Geological Museum of China came into being.
In the capacity of the first director of the Museum,Ding Wenjiang prepared and chaired the graduation ceremony and the“Exhibition of Achievements of Students”. Ding made a significant contribution to drawing,collecting,sorting and ultimately displaying all the specimens on exhibit,and,of course he played a major role in the establishment of the Museum.
Before long,Gu Zhongxiu was appointed as the minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. He began to streamline the organizations. In October 1916,the Department reverted back to an institution. It had only one director and the position of deputy director was abolished. The Topography Division was abolished altogether and as a result the Mineral Division took over the responsibility of overseeing matters related to exhibits on geology and mineralogy,and there was no longer a director for the exhibits. Ding Wenjiang was the director of the Geological Survey. Four years later,Weng Wenhao was placed in charge of the Geological Museum. At that time,the formal name of the Museum was the Geological Museum.
According to Weng wenhao’s reminiscences,“When the Geological Survey was first founded,it formulated a plan to build a museum. Each excursion into the field had the task of collecting new specimens that could be used for exhibit. After it moved to the present site of Fengsheng Alleyway in the fourth year of the Republic of China,we began preparing for the establishment of a museum. In the fifth year of the Republic of China,the students of the Institute of Geology graduated. Taking advantage of the new system,we held an exhibition which was the starting point for today’s Museum.”July 14,1916 was the official date of the founding of the Geological Museum.The site of the new Museum was at the original No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway,and it remained there for more than 40 years.
Development of No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway
The Institute of Geology enrolled only one group of students. After their graduation in 1916,most of them joined the Institute and engaged in survey work. No students were enrolled in the following year,and indeed it ceased to take any more new students.
The Geological Survey set up the Geology and Minerals Museum on the basis of the Specimen Showroom. At first,it began with four sections because there were only four rooms available in the old building. They were:
(1)Minerals and Rocks;
(3)Coal and Iron Ores;
During this period,the Geological Survey invited a Swede called J.G.Andersson to help establish the Geology and Minerals Museum,and appointed him director of the Museum.But in fact it was Lu Zuyin who did most of the work.
The first report of the Geology and Minerals Museum in 1925 stated:“With regard to the equipment plan of the Museum,Dr. Andersson made a great contribution.”“Therefore,since the ninth year of the Republic of China,he has been the director appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce.’’Since he often went out to conduct field surveys,“so the Museum appointed technician Lu Zuyin to manage the affairs of the Museum. ...In fact,LU Zuyin carried out most of the design and fabrication of the displays for the Museum.”The display tables,cases and plans mostly originated from the ideas of Andersson and he was personally involved in the designs. Even today,a few of the earliest display cases are still preserved. Mr.Andersson left China to return to Sweden in 1925 and he became a geology professor in Stockholm University.In 1928,he was appointed director of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Sweden.
In the Revised Charter of the Geological Survey issued in 1920,the duties and responsibilities of the Museum were detailed so as to complete the following functions:
(1)matters relating to exhibition of various specimens;
(2)matters relating to storage of various specimens;
(3)matters relating to the exchange and purchase of various specimens;
(4)matters relating to the identification of various specimens.
Beginning in 1916,geological surveys were carried out on a fairly large scale and consequently the number of specimens kept increasing on a regular basis.The Museum soon became too small to house them all,and it desperately needed to expand its space. In 1920,taking advantage of building a new geological library for the Geological Survey,Ding Wenjiang,director of the Institute,Zhang Hongzhao,head of the Geology Division,and Weng Wenhao,head of the Mineral Division,discussed the concept of establishing a geological library. They petitioned to the Ministry to begin a fund drive. Li Yuanhong,then president of the Republic of China,donated 1000 yuan. The Zhongxing Colliery represented by Zhu Qiqian and Ai Seng,the Kailuan Colliery and entrepreneur Yuan Di’an,the Fuzhong Company and Ministry of Communications,etc.,donated 39000 yuan in total. The new library,located in No.9 Bingmasi Alleyway,Xicheng District was completed in September 1921. The Remaining 8000 yuan of the construction funds was spent on building two more rooms for the Museum. So it was expanded to 400 square meters,and this included more than 3000 specimens. On July 17,1922,the new Museum and library were open simultaneously.
The library of the Geological Survey of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce at No.9 Bingmasi Alleyway in 1921.
The entrance gate of No.9 Bingmasi Alleyway in the early 1930s.
Interior of the Gallery of Coal and Iron Minerals in the Museum of Geology and Minerals around 1920.
Interior of the Gallery of Non-metal Minerals in the Museum of Geology and Minerals around 1920.
This place was originally a canteen of Beijing Normal School at No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway.Tangshan Cement Company,at the request of Wen Wenhao,
renovated the canteen and turned it into a hall with its own cementand other materials and products．With various specimens moved in,it became a
gallery of Non-metal Minerals and Useful Stones.This was an additional gallery built under Weng Wenhao by using funds donated by the society.
Many dignitaries were present at the grand ceremony for the opening of the library and the Museum of the Geological Survey,and included many donors. President Li Yuanhong was also present,accompanied by Zhang Guogan,minister of Agriculture and Commerce,his deputy Jiang Tianduo and other officials. The renowned daily newspaper Shen Bao,which itself had been in existence for 50 years,covered the event.
The ceremony was held in the conference room on the first floor of the library. Director Ding Wenjiang made the opening speech stating that:“First,I would like to thank the President for his generous donation. Secondly,I must thank all the visitors who are enthusiastic supporters of the public good,`and the past directors for their contribution and guidance.” President Li said in his speech:“In the ninth year of the Republic of China,donations have been used to build this library and expand the Museum in preparation for opening to the public. On the occasion of the opening ceremony. I am honored to be present and see that all Chinese and western books are neatly categorized and placed in good order,and that specimens and diagrams are well displayed. This sets a good example for industrial organizations,and sets an exemplary lead for academia. This has laid the foundation for scientific progress and the rise of the nation in the future.” After the ceremony,Li Yuanhong and other visitors toured the Museum in No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway and had a picture taken in front of the building.
Now the Museum took on a whole new look. “All the staff had worked together,even on the National Day and Sundays,busy preparing for the opening ceremony. Such diligence is admirable.” The Museum comprised of six parts,namely“1) Coal and Iron,2) Fossils,3) Igneous Rocks and Minerals,4) Ferrous Minerals,5) Non—ferrous Minerals,and 6) Survey Maps and Human Stone Implements and Pottery Collected by Mr.Andersson. A11 those exhibits were displayed with detailed explanations in both Chinese and English. Pictures of minerals and survey maps were hung on the wall.”
We can summarize the first years of the museum as follows:
(1)Since 1922，the Geological Museum had six galleries(one of which was used for temporary exhibits). With a strict scientific approach,geological pioneers set high goals and standards in sorting out,studying and displaying exhibits. They earned a good reputation and created a sound scientific institute with a strict work ethic and emphasizing quality of exhibits.
(2)The exhibit of“Human Stone Implements and Pottery Collected by Mr.Andersson”was of great significance.
In 1918,Mr.Andersson discovered fossils in Yingchi,Henan Province. In 1920,he and his assistant bought a large number of stone artifacts in Yangshao. In April next year,Mr.Andersson found a stratum mixed with burned ashes and stone object,which included beautiful painted pottery shards. Thus began a historical chapter in Chinese archaeology“the Yangshao Culture”,named by Mr.Andersson. The symbolic objects comprise painted earthen wares and shards. In the summer of 1921,Mr.Andersson and others excavated the site of a tomb at Shaguomn,Jinxi County,Fengtian,and compared the earthen artifacts unearthed in Yangshao with those from Shaguotun. Mr.Andersson said,“After two years searching for traces of prehistoric life,we discovered two places of significance in the 10th year of the Republic of China:one in Yangshao Village,Henan,the other in Shaguotun Village,Fengtian.”
The exhibit of“Human Stone Implements and Pottery Collected by Mr.Andersson”held in 1922 was the first public exhibit of the artifacts of the Yangshao Culture. It also indicates that the Geological Museum was the first institution with archaeological objects,thereby representing the beginning of Chinese archaeological studies.
Andetsson(second from left)and Yuan Fuli(first ftom left) at the excavation site for the first time at Yangshao Village, Henan Province in 1921.
Andersson examining Yangshao pottery transported from China in Stockholm,Sweden in 1925.
After 1922 this exhibit was not mentioned in news reports again. Nevertheless the venue became a place for exhibiting scientific discoveries of great importance. Its importance far surpassed the exhibits themselves. Since then,the Geological Museum has developed an excellent tradition of disseminating scientific knowledge and promoting important scientific advances.Consequently it is well recognized as an advanced scientific institution. The public exhibit of the Skull of Peking Man at Zhoukoudian,Fangshan District,Beijng together with specimens of various ancient vertebrate animals in March and April of 1930 was another major contribution,and it caused a stir in Beiping. Such events have continued to this day to be a major feature of the Museum.
In 1927,one and half exhibition rooms were added to the facility with donated funds. These were used for exhibits of non-metallic minerals and palaeontological fossils. By then,there were all together about 900 square meters of floor space for exhibits,including both the first floor and the second floor. It was divided into seven sections:
(1)Coal and Iron Minerals,about l000 specimens;
(2)Metallic Minerals,about l200 specimens;
(3)Non-metallic Minerals,about l000 specimens;
(4)Minerals,Rocks and Dynamic Geology,about 1200 specimens;
(5)Geological Systems,about 1200 specimens;
(6)Palaeontological Fossils No.A,about 2000 specimens;
(7)Palaeontological Fossils No.B,about 1500 specimens.
Pei wenzhong,Weng wenhao and Breuil H.at Zhoukoudian.
By this time,while there were only 10000 specimens on display,there were more than 100000 specimens held in storage that could not be exhibit.
In the Museum,“except for a small number of foreign specimens used for comparison,the majority of objects have been found in China and can be used for specialized study. Apart from the specimens themselves,there are detailed diagrams and photos to illustrate details about them,so that visitors can see the actual objects and learn details about research activities. Besides its function for displaying geological specimens,it is an ideal place for those who study geology and minerals of China.”
Geology and Minerals Museum of the Geological Survey og the Ministry og Industry
In the spring of 1926,due to the efforts of Weng Wenhao,director of the Geological Survey,six large mining entities including Kailuan Colliery of the Beipiao Coal Company agreed to jointly donate 20000 yuan each year for five years to the Geological Survey,which was“designated to be used for building the Geology and Minerals Museum and other constructions.”As the society was not stable,some entities failed to make donations as promised. Weng Wenhao had to turn to other entities and individuals,and collected 28000 yuan With this amount of money,the Survey built the Southern Museum in No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway,and an office building in No.9 Bingmasi Alleyway. This building was completed and put into service in the winter of 1928. Since then,“The building
of No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway has been totally used by the Museum…”Meanwhile,“the old office in the northern section was converted into the Northern Museum,its area almost equaling the combined area totals of the middle and the southern sections…”The exhibit area,equipment,numbers of specimens,and the achievements and social influence reached unprecedented levels. Mr.Weng wenhao was delighted and busy with additional exhibit design and development. After that,the Museum was big enough to“hold 600 cases,displaying more than 40000 specimens.’’
For a low price,the Museum also sold redundant specimens, which had been studied and authenticated,to educational institutions for teaching purposes. According to statistics from 1931,it sold altogether more than 7000 specimens to universities and middle schools.
In 1932,the exhibit space further expanded to more than 1000 square meters. Exhibits on coal,oil,soil and those of the Cenozoic era were added at this time. This contributed to the establishment of two new departments,namely the Cenozoic Research Department and the Soil Research Department. The former was established in cooperation with the Union Medical College Hospital established by Americans;and the latter was established on the entrustment of US-backed Chinese Education and Culture Foundation.
Ding Wenjiang in 1930's(provided by Ding Haishu,nephew of Ding Wenjiang).
A group photo of senior members of Beiping Academy taken in April 1930.In the photo are Weng Wenhao,director of the Geological Survey(first fromleft,
front row),Emile Licent,Beijiang Museum of Tianjin(third from left,front row),Li Shuhua,deputy director of Beiping Academy(fourth from left,front row),Sven
Anders Hedin(second from right,front row),Pierre Teilhard de Chardin(first from right,front row),and Zhang Hongzhao,Zhou Zanheng,Xu Guangxi and others.
Xu Guangxi at No.3 Fengsheng Alleyway,autumn 1932(provided by Xu Yipei,son of Xu Guangxi).
Xu Guangxi(first from left)and the couple Zeng Shiying and Zhang Xiangzheng(provided by daughter of the couple)．
In this period,Xu Guangxi was in charge of the Museum.At the same time,he was also responsible for drawing,sectioning and the photography of specimens. Drawing and sectioning major chemical fossils from Ding Wenjiang,Li Siguang and Sun Yunzhu were undertaken by Xu.Working hard and never complaining,he was a respected geologist.He was always ready to help others,and devoted all his life to geology. This was not easy. In addition,he looked after the orphan of his university classmate Zhao Yazeng(graduated from Peking University in 1923),who was killed during a geological survey trip in Zhaotong,Yunnan in 1929.Unfortunately,Xu died of pneumonia in 1934 at the age of 35.As head of the Museum he did a good job. By 1932,the exhibit space of the Museum had expanded to about 1000 square meters,and there were significantly more specimens in the collections. One important exhibit,a large scroll of ink-and-wash painting Little Solitary Hill in the Yangtze River,was collected when Xu was the head of the Museum,and is now housed in the Geological Museum of Jiangsu Province on Zhujiang Street in Nanjing.
Because of the Japanese aggressors invasion at that time,the situation in North China became critical. Ji Rongsen and some others placed important specimens into boxes and made arrangements to take them elsewhere. It was not until 1934 that things settled down and the boxes were opened and specimens were taken out to be placed on display once again.
Zhang Hongzhao(1877~1951),Alias Yanqun geologist,was a native of Wuxing,Zhejiang Province. He went to Japan to study in 1904.In 1908,he entered the Department of Geology of Tokyo Imperial University. Studied with Professor Koto Bunjiro,and graduated in 1911,winning BS. Zhang was one of the founders of geology of modern China.
Ding Wenjiang(1887~1936),alias Zaijun was a native of Taixing,Jiangsu Province. He went to Japan to study In 1902 and then to UK in 1904. In 1907,he entered the Geological Department of Glasgow University and graduated in 1911,winning double diplomas of fauna and geology. Ding was one of the founders of geology of modern China. He was the directer of the Museum of Geology and Minerals from February to October 1916.
Zhang Yiou(1881~1938)alias Yihou,was a native Wuxi Jiang Province. In l897 he entered Shanghai Nanyang Public School. In 1901,and then enrolled in Waseda University in Japan. It was also in Japan he joined the Revive China Society(a Chinese revolutionary organization set up by Dr.Sun Yat-sen). Zhang Returned to China in 1903 and began to study Latin and French in Shanghai Zhendan College. The following year he won the Scholarship through an examination to go to Belgium to study mining and metallurgy. In 1911,he got MS and the qualification of the mining engineer.
Weng Wenhao(1889~1971),alias Yongni,was a native of Yinxian County(today's Ningbo). Zhejiang Province. In 1908,he went to study geology in Louvain University in Belgium and won the PhD. He returned to China in l913. Weng was one of the founders of geology of modern China. He was in charge of the Geological Museum from October 1916 to July l920.
Lu Zuyin(1889~1976),alias Xinpei,was a native of Changzhou,Jiangsu Province. He graduated from the Geological Institute in 1916. His paper“Study of Optics of Garnet in Metamorphic Rocks” is the first thesis on optic mineral. His graduation paper was entitled“Geology of the West Lake of Hangzhou”. He became the curator of the library of the Geological Survey in 1922. Soon he was in charge of the Museum. In 1928,he was appointed the director of the Museum of Geology and Minerals.
Xu Guangxi(1899~1 934) was a native of Pinghu,Zhejiang Province. Upon graduation from the Department of Geology of Peking University in 1925,he served in the Geological Survey,and concurrently as a teacher in the Department of Geology of Peking University. From early 1929 to June 1934,he was appointed the director of the Museum of Geology and Minerals of the Geological Survey.