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Dr Qin Cao is Curator of the Chinese collections, including those of the Himalayan and Mongolian regions, and the Korean peninsula.

Dr Qin Cao in the Grand Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland

Dr Qin Cao is Curator of the Chinese collections, including those of the Himalayan and Mongolian regions, and the Korean peninsula.

Qin studied Archaeology for her BA at Nanjing University and then her MA at University College London. She obtained a DPhil on the subject of Shang dynasty weapons from the University of Oxford in collaboration with the British Museum.

Dr Cao has interned and worked at a number of heritage institutions, including the Bangkok office of UNESCO, Jinsha Site Museum, Chengdu, China and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. In 2012, she joined the British Museum as part of their Future Curators programme, and also worked at the Manchester Museum.

Her primary interest is Chinese material culture, in particular bronzes of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, and numismatics.

Selected publications

  1. Cao, Q. (2019). By the Mandate of Heaven: A Kingfisher Headdress in the National Museum of Scotland, Orientations. Vol. 50, March/April issue, 74-81.
  2. Cao, Q. (2019). Displaying China in the National Museum of Scotland, Orientations (Chinese), Vol. 27, Jan/Feb issue, 90-95.
  3. Cao, Q. (2018). Ritual or Lethal? Bronze Weapons in Late Shang China. In A. Dolfini, R. Crellin, C. Horn, & M. Uckelmann (Eds.), Prehistoric Warfare and Violence: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. 225-245. London; New York: Springer.
  4. Cao, Q. (2015). Sanxingdui; Warring State Philosophy; Astronomy and Calendar; Military and Weapons; Textile and Clothing; the Art of War. In Y. Zhuang (Ed.), 30-second Ancient China. 36-37, 82-83, 88-89, 128-129, 138-139, 144-145. Lewes: Ivy Press.
  5. Cao, Q. (2014). An Introduction and Identification Guide to Chinese Qing Dynasty Coins. Money and Medals Network website (
  6. Cao, Q. (2012). A Chinese Coin Hoard from Barrow. Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society, issue 211, 33–37.
  7. Cao, Q. (trans.) (2010). Sichuan Guanghan Sanxingdui Museum, & Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum (Eds.). Sanxingdui and Jinsha: Two Peaks in the Ancient Shu Culture. Chengdu: Sichuan Renmin Chubanshe. (Chinese and English)
  8. Cao, Q. (2006). A Brief Analysis of the Types of World Heritage Properties in China. Sichuan Cultural Heritage, issue 1, 86–90. (Chinese)

Photo © Louise Boyd

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