The city of Nantong, situated at the north bank of the Yangtze river’s estuary, not only houses China’s oldest museum (the Nantong Museum, founded by Zhang Qian in 1905) but also some of its weirdest.
China Nantong Abacus Museum, located by the Haohe River, offers a permanent exhibition covering 6000 square meters, making it the world’s largest museum dedicated to the history of the abacus.
The main focus is on the Chinese abacus, although other cultures are also covered. Archeological finds are presented along with more modern, artful abacuses (including Buddhist and Daoist abacuses and a miniature pagoda constructed entirely out of abacuses) and imaginative applications such as the calendar abacus.
Artwork depicting the abacus throughout Chinese history is also presented.
Its uniquely designed building houses more than 4,000 volumes of historical abacus records, and 2,000 abacus items, among them treasures with priceless historical and cultural value. The museum expresses a combination of local and abacus history, making it an excellent addition to the cultural landscape.
According to atlasobscura & en.nantong.gov.vn