Some of the most important ancient treasures ever to leave China

Featuring over 350 treasures in jade, gold, silver, bronze and earthenware, The Search for Immortality takes you into the 2000 year-old tombs of Han Dynasty China, revealing an epic story of lust for power both in life and death.

The Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) founded unified rule in China but to maintain their vast territory they endured constant struggles for supremacy, both within the empire and from without. In a world first, see the tomb finds of two rival power factions: the Han royal family and the Kingdom of Nanyue in southern China.

Both seeking control of the southern lands, their rivalry continued to the afterlife in tomb palaces of incredible wealth.  See the treasures that proclaimed their power and discover how they aspired to eternal life.

A part of the London 2012 Festival, this is one of the most important exhibitions of ancient royal treasures ever to travel outside China.

3 heads from Virtual exhibition

Visit the virtual exhibition

The exhibition is structured to reflect a typical tomb layout, and features over 350 treasures. Explore some of them here.

Close of up statue face

Explore the Empire and tombs

The Han Dynasty was one of the most powerful empires of the ancient world, comparable with the Early Roman Empire.

2 jade suits

Witness a battle for power

The exhibition gives an insight on the power play in one particular area of the Han Empire – the Kingdom of Nanyue in Southern China