China's first and only museum for fishing and hunting has been opened in China's Northeast Jilin Province.
Chagan Lake Fishing and Hunting Cultural Museum is located in Qian Golors county, which sits appropriately on a web of rivers and lakes. Chagan Lake, named in Mongolian, is also known as Chagan Thatcher Lake, and it means the lake with white bubbles, or more formally, Lake of Purity.
It took 4 years for this modern museum to develop from an idea to a concrete building occupying 15,000 square meters of land. Walking into the fish-shaped building, we see a large amount of relics showing the evidence of lives in this area dating far back to Paleolithic times some 10,000 years ago.
Fishing and hunting is the main life style led by the ancestors living by the lake. They remained ancient skills used by tribesmen to survive on this rich plain until the 12th century, at which point they transformed more into a form of ritual.
Mongolian Emperors such as Genghis Khan held a Spring Lake Pilgrimage every year. All officials, concubines, and tribe leaders participated. Scraping the ice-covered lake, the emperor would order wholes to be carved in the ice, allowing the fish to jump out by themselves. Once the emperor caught his first fish, the banquet could begin.
This fishing and hunting ritual saw the peak of its popularity during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, when the ethnic tribe thrived in the Chagan lake area.