Created in the shape of an enormous traditional cooking pot, Shanghai’s premier museum serves up the finest of China’s ancient arts, cultures and philosophy.
The Shanghai Museum is located in People’s Square in the center of the city. The museum is divided into 11 galleries and three exhibition halls displaying ancient Chinese artifacts and art. Before entering the museum, notice the exterior design with its round dome and square base. This shape symbolizes the ancient concept of a round heaven and square land.
Wander through the galleries to see ancient bronzes, ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, jade, coins and furniture from the various dynasties. The ancient ceramics collection is one of the most treasured collections in the museum. Examine more than 500 pieces from throughout the ages. Highlights include pottery from the Neolithic age and Tang Dynasty, primitive celadon from the Shang, Zhou and Warring states, and painted porcelain from the Song, Jin and Liao dynasties.
Make your way to the Gallery of Chinese Ancient Sculptures to see the collection of priceless Buddhist statues, many of them carved from jade. The Gallery of Chinese Seals is also worth a look. It illustrates the importance of seals through Chinese history, from the Western Zhou to the end of the Qing Dynasty. There are nearly 7,000 pieces on display in the gallery, including Chinese coins, demonstrating the growth of economic exchange between China and foreign nations.
The Shanghai Museum is open daily and admission is free, but visitor numbers are limited each day, so be prepared to wait in a queue. Allow at least 1.5 hours to see the main collections. To reach the museum, take the metro or bus to People’s Square station.
If you have time, the Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai Grand Theater and People’s Square are all close by and can be combined for a great day of history and culture.