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A Journey Into China

The Blackhawk Museum is known for its extensive automotive gallery and award-winning Spirit of the Old West gallery, but it also houses three additional exhibits that impress visitors of all ages. The Into China exhibit showcases handcrafted masterpieces, one of the world’s largest miniature models of the Forbidden City, and replicas of the Emperor’s Throne and Terracotta warriors. Read below for some highlights from this brilliant gallery which brings to life a beautiful tale of Chinese culture, symbolism, and history. 

Into China Exhibit Entrance
A Grand Entrance

The Into China exhibit welcomes guests through a circular entrance that resembles a traditional Chinese moon gate. These eye-catching architectural element is mostly seen in gardens and can symbolize birth and renewal. The moon gate entrance is flanked with large, intricately carved vases depicting dragons flying through the skies.

Carved Great Dragon in the Into China Exhibit
The Imperial Dragon

Dragons are another important symbol to Chinese culture and are often depicted as powerful mythical creatures who bring fortune and good luck. Located near the entrance of the exhibit, a 24-foot dragon carving made from a single piece of wood weaves through the room chasing after an elusive pearl, which typically represents wisdom. 


A sprawling handcrafted sculpture, appropriately named “Dreamland,” leads guests deeper into the exhibit’s embrace. Dreamland is carved entirely from Tuchen wood, a type of fossil wood that spends a thousand years underground before it’s unearthed to be worked on by artists. After 11 years of sourcing this rare commodity from Burma and Laos, and seven years of carving, the 80-foot display denotes an idyllic fantasy land where its elaborately carved residents are perpetually free to seek a happy and peaceful life.

The Emperor's Throne

Situated near the back of the gallery, is a scaled replica of the Dragon Throne currently sitting in the Forbidden City. The historic replica’s elaborate dragon carvings cased in gold shines brightly against the rest of the gallery’s dimly lit surroundings, absorbing and bending most of the light in the room. Its vibrance and size is breathtaking, and its grandiosity summons guests to imagine a time when those that sat on this throne were synonymous with divinity.

Ornamental Ceramics

Displayed in a small and separate room is a beautiful collection of ornamental ceramics from the Ming and Qing dynasties. These ornately decorated jars, bowls, dishes, and vases help tell the story of  China’s rich history of porcelain artistry over the span of hundreds of years.

The Forbidden City

Sitting in the center of the gallery is one of the world’s largest scaled models of the Forbidden City, the political and ritual center of ancient China and the home of 24 emperors since 1420. This 25-foot handmade model depicts even the smallest details of this historic micro-city located in the heart of China’s capital, Beijing. 

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