Han Dynasty Brick Museum

Top choice museum in Qingdao

Thirty years ago, Zhang Xinkuan was a young army officer laying a road in Hénán province when he noticed the huge granite slabs they were smashing into gravel were covered in exquisite carvings. Thus began his life's pursuit to save more than 5000 Han dynasty relics, now housed in his truly unique, private museum at the southwestern foot of Láo Shān.

Zhang put his entire life savings into finding these carvings, which document ancient Chinese life, mostly in backyards, kitchens and even pigsties in Hénán, Shāndōng, Shānxī, Jiāngsū and Sìchuān, where more than 2000 years ago they were made to decorate palaces, ancestral halls and tombs.

There are carvings of prancing deer, ladies in long flared skirts and hunters in Persian-style robes in five main galleries. Many have been captured as ink rubbings, which are available for purchase. Call ahead and the man himself might show you around.

Take bus 119 to the last stop, Taidong 1409 Hospital (台东—四零九医院), about an hour from downtown Qīngdǎo.