Shanghai Museum is located downtown on the south
side of People's Square.
Shanghai Museum is one of the best museum in China, the Museum has 11 state-of-the-art galleries and three special exhibition halls arranged on four floors, all encircling a spacious cylindrical atrium. The exhibits are tastefully displayed and well lit, and explanatory signs are in English as well as Chinese. For size, the museum's 120,000 historic artifacts cannot match the world-renowned Chinese collections in Beijing, Taipei, and Xi'an, but are more than enough to fill the galleries on any given day with outstanding treasures. Many foreign visitors to the museum often rank it as Shanghai's very best site.
As a museum of ancient Chinese art, Shanghai Museum possesses a collection of 120,000 precious works of art. Its rich and high-quality collection of ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, painting and calligraphy is specially celebrated in the world. Founded and first open to the public in the building previously of the horseracing club at 325 W. Nanjing Road in 1952 and then moved into the former Zhonghui Building at 16 S. Henan Road in 1959, the museum developed very quickly in aspects of acquisition, conservation, research, exhibition, education and cultural exchanges with other institutes. In 1992, the Shanghai municipal government allocated to the Museum a piece of land at the very center of the city, the People's Square, as its new site. The whole construction took three years, from August 1993 to its inauguration on October 12th, 1996. The 29.5 meters high new building has a construction space of 39,200 square meters. Its unique architectural form of a round top with a square base, symbolizing the ancient Chinese philosophy that the square earth is under the round sky, is a distinguished architectural combination of traditional feature and modern spirit. The present Shanghai Museum has eleven galleries and three special temporary exhibition halls. It extends warm welcome to the visitors from all over the world.
Exploring the Shanghai Museum
Unlike many museums in China, the Shanghai Museum is arranged by theme rather than by dynasty. Though visitors all have their individual favorites, the Bronze Gallery and the Stone Sculpture Gallery on the first floor and the Painting Gallery on the third floor are generally considered the most impressive. Elevators, escalators, and stairways serve each floor. A large gift shop on the ground floor sells museum reproductions, books, postcards, and gifts; and smaller shops are located on the other floors.
Begin your tour on the first floor at the Ancient Chinese Bronze Gallery, which boasts a marvelous collection of over 400 bronzes from the 18th to the 3rd centuries B.C. typically reserved for use only by nobles and royalty. Standouts include two wine vessels with animal mask designs, one in the shape of an ox (zun) and the other a traditional pot (he) used by the king of Wu, both dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.). There's also a typical food vessel on three legs (ding) from the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100-771 B.C.), the shape of which is said to be the inspiration for the museum building, which certainly resembles an ancient ding from afar. The Ancient Chinese Sculpture Gallery has sculptures spanning the Warring States period to the Ming Dynasty (475 B.C.-A.D. 1644), including a kneeling clay figure playing a bamboo flute from the Eastern Han (A.D. 25-200) and a Buddhist image of Sakyamuni in stone from the Northern Qi (A.D. 550-577).
On the second floor, the Ceramics Gallery contains many tricolor figurines from the magnificent Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907) and delicately painted and fired pots from the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644) kilns at Jingde Zhen; the gallery is definitely worth a tour if you love your china.
On the third floor, the Painting Gallery contains many ancient original art works on silk scrolls, including landscapes from the Ming Dynasty and Buddhist scrolls from the Tang and Song (A.D. 960-1279) dynasties. Typical is the ink brush scroll by Emperor Zhao Ji (A.D. 1083-1135) of the Song Dynasty titled for its subjects, Willow, Crows, Reed, and Wild Geese. The Calligraphy Gallery shows the various styles of artistic "handwriting" developed in China over many centuries, with specimens as old as the Tang Dynasty. Altogether, the museum owns some 15,000 of these fine scrolls. The Seal Gallery has intricate carved chops in stone used by emperors and their courts to notarize official documents. On this floor, displays show the basic elements of calligraphy, explaining the relationship between Chinese painting and calligraphy, and demonstrating how the artists' tools were used.
The fourth floor has a splendid Jade Gallery,
with intricately carved jade wine vessels, jewelry, and ornaments,
some from as early as the Liangzhu Culture (31st-22nd c. B.C.).
The Coin Gallery displays coins that predate the First Emperor's
reign (221-207 B.C.), as well as gold coins from Persia discovered
on the Silk Road. The Ming and Qing Furniture Gallery has elaborately
carved screens inlaid with jade from the Qing Dynasty (A.D. 1644-1911),
a six-poster canopy bed, and a wonderful folding wooden armchair
from the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). The Minority Nationalities'
Art Gallery displays some lovely costumes, jewelry, dioramas, and
ceremonial creations from the more remote, non-Han Chinese reaches
of the Chinese empire, most of them dating from the early 20th century.
Addresss: the south side of People's Square , Renmin Da Dao 201, Shanghai
Admission Fee: 20RMB (general entry); 50RMB (entry for Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Art Museum and Shanghai Theatre) or 45RMB (entry for Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Theatre)
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 15:00, Last entry 16:00
Recommending Time for a Visit: 2 hours
Transportation: Metro and Bus
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