Founded in 1952, Shanghai Museum is one of China’s largest and most sophisticated museums located in People’s Square in the Huangpu district of the city. If you love both art and history, this is a must-see for you at the time of visiting Shanghai. The building has been designed in a manner to show symbolic use of dome as around heaven on a square land, which is an ancient Chinese perception of the world we have. (Photo by © David Leo Veksler via Flickr)
What is inside the Shanghai Museum?
Shanghai Museum has 11 galleries and three exhibition halls. The 11 galleries include most of the Chinese art categories with focus on:
These artifacts are mostly from the Zhou and Shang dynasties helping you to get a better understanding of China’s ancient societies and civilizations. This part of the museum has more than 400 pieces displaying Chinese bronze art from the past.
One of the precious collections you would definitely like in the Shanghai museum is the ceramics collection. This collection includes over 500 pieces of art from different dynasties throughout Chinese history. These artifacts come in different colors and looks, which shows you how different eras of time are different in their artwork.
Here you can find unique paintings with very different styles, shapes, and genres. They can shed new light on how you perceive the Chinese culture. Here you can see various masterpieces from different periods.
When you write the Chinese language with an artistic side, that’s a whole new beauty. The calligraphy you can find in this museum is truly beautiful and something new for western eyes.
The sculptures in the museum are mostly Buddhist ones alongside a few others. One of these sculptures is a particularly good one, a stone stele named Thousand-Buddha.
China has an old history with jade, and still, you can see jade factories working in modern China. Jade has been a symbol of power and wealth since ancient China that has decorative function as well. Another aspect of jade is being the symbol of morality. The jade collection of the museum will attract you with both their style and of course the color.
It’s quite fascinating to know that China has been one of the first countries to use the currency. The coin collection of the Shanghai Museum has 7,000 pieces that tell how the Chinese currency developed in time. You can also get a sense of the Chinese growth of economic exchange with other foreign countries.
The furniture collection on display belongs to the Qing and Ming dynasties when the wonder days of Chinese furniture were happening. In the museum, there is an area like a garden residence that looks like the olden time, and you can get a better understanding of Chinese culture.
Seals are not much in use now, but they were vital in ancient China where they developed the first ones. The seals’ collection of the museum reveals what level of importance they used to have in ancient China and different periods.
Minority and foreign art
China is a vast country in which, people with a broad range of cultures live together. Throughout China’s long history, many minorities have developed their own culture and art in areas such as clothing, fabrics, sculptures, pottery, etc. These different styles in art give you a general sense of understanding ethnic groups.
How it became a valuable museum?
- The first collections of the museum came from three primary sources:
- Many artifacts were confiscated from private collections or found accidentally and gathered by the Communist field army during the civil war and were brought to Shanghai when the Communists’ conquered the city.
- Artifacts and items which were confiscated by the customs service.
- Items bought by the government form private collectors during a political pressure time.
Also, there used to be a Shanghai municipal museum which was merged and formed the Shanghai museum.
During later times the museum enriched its collection and now has over 120,000 pieces inside.
|How to get to?|
|By Metro||Find Line 1, Line 2, or Line 8 and get off at People’s Square Station. Go out of the station from Exit 1 and then walk south for about five minutes.|
|By Bus||Find bus 46, 49, 123, 145, 312, 451, or Shangchuan Special Line and get off at People’s Square Station.|
|By Tunnel||Take Tunnel Line 6 and get off at Wushenglu Xizang Zhonglu Station.|
|Hours||9:00 to 17:00 but remember the last opportunity for entry is at 16:00.|
|Time||Visiting days are from Tuesday to Sunday (Mondays the museum is closed, except on official holidays)|
|Ticket Prices||The museum is free of charge, and you don’t need to buy a ticket to enter, but this only applies to 8000 people per day.|
|Audio Tour Set||40 Yuan/set, with a deposit of either 400 Yuan, 50 USD, or a passport.|
The audio tour of the museum is a perfect tool for foreign visitors to get a better understanding of artworks and pieces in the museum. You can get the audio tour in Chinese, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Korean. There is a Chinese saying that translates as “it is better to see for oneself than to hear many times.” So if you ever set foot in Shanghai, don’t miss the chance to visit the museum, witness the beauties of Chinese culture, and share your experiences and thoughts with us!