Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum






HUANGPU - People's Square


The Shanghai Museum is considered one of the most significant museums nationwide, being proud of a wide collection of priceless relics that have been furnished with sufficient descriptions in both Chinese and English.


Established in 1996, this uniquely shaped structure nestles itself in a big urban green in the very city center, claiming absolute supremacy over the other landmarks of the region.

Its round top and square base architecture figuratively implies a traditional Chinese phrase "天圆地方 a round heaven and a square earth" which can be interpreted as the initial understanding of "universe". The round top is modeled on a giant bronze pot, called "Ding 鼎", a kind of food container (especially contain meats) used only by dignitaries in ancient China, lends an air of magnificence to the whole building. In addition, the eight statues of traditional Chinese sacred animals flanking the museum's south entrance embody the meaning of treasure protection.

The museum has categorized all exhibits into a set of theme galleries and thoughtfully arranged the displaying sequences in accessible threads. 

Floor 1: Ancient Chinese Bronze Gallery, and Ancient Chinese Sculpture Gallery

Over 400 exhibits displayed in the Bronze Gallery are committed to telling brilliant stories about the remarkable techniques of bronze casting and modeling in the Bronze Age of ancient China (18th century B.C. – 3rd century B.C.). The exquisite patterns and graceful inscriptions are still as clear as they were, just like time passing has never worn on them. These relics of weapons, wares for household and ceremony, and musical instruments that have survived into the modern age contribute significant archaeology value to the study of ancient lives.

The Sculpture Gallery wraps up a sculpture-making history over 2,100 years (475 B.C. – A.D. 1644) in an exhibiting parade with over 120 pieces of relics, most of which are the figures connecting to the religion of Buddhism, which implies a significant cultural influence exerted by the Buddhism at the time.

Floor 2: Ancient Chinese Ceramics Gallery

The Ancient Chinese Ceramics Gallery puts 500+ pieces of pottery and porcelain work under spotlights, covering a tremendous history of 8,000 years which spans from the Neolithic age to the Qing Dynasty. Preeminences worth your attention are the painted potteries of the Neolithic Age, proto-celadon works of the Warring States Periods (770 – 221 B.C.), celadon glaze works of the Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25 – 225), tri-colored glazed potteries of the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 –907), blue and white porcelains of the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960 – 1279), and under-glazed porcelains of the Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1279 – 1368).

Floor 3: Chinese Painting Gallery, Chinese Calligraphy Gallery, and Chinese Seal Gallery,

The Painting Gallery displays about 120 pieces of genuine works created by famed artists over the dynasties of Tang (A.D. 618 – 907), Song (A.D. 960 – 1279), Yuan (A.D. 1279 – 1368), Ming (A.D. 1368 – 1644), and Qing (A.D. 1636 – 1912), work subjects includes landscape painting, portrait painting, and flowers-and-birds painting. 

These traditional Chinese paintings were basically created by the use of pointed brush, ink stick, silk, and Xuan Paper 宣纸 (a sort of thin paper in the delicate quantity that is mainly used for painting or calligraphy works), it determines a maximum service life to each of the works, hence, the museum is exercising multiple measures to prevent these cultural treasures from impairing, such as the applications of motion-sensor illuminations, thermostat equipment, humidity controls, etc.

Calligraphy is an additional art expressing form in ancient China that originated thousands of years ago, it can be traced back to Shang Dynasty 商朝 (1562 B.C. – 1066 B.C.), matured in the Eastern Zhou Period (770 B.C. – 256 B.C.) and flourished in the following dynasties. There are over 70 calligraphy works exhibited here in the museum, ranging from the inscriptions engraved on oracle bones or other objects like bronze wares, bamboo strips, or stone tablets, to the poems and letters written on papers or scrolls. 

The Chinese Seal Gallery houses nearly 500 seal exhibits that were mainly unearthed from the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 B.C. – 771 B.C.) to the late Qing Dynasty (1840 – 1912). 

Floor 4: Ancient Chinese Jade Gallery, Chinese Currency Gallery

The Jade Gallery displays over 300 jade wares in form of wine vessels, jewelry, or house ornaments, the oldest exhibit can be traced back to the Neolithic Age.

3,000 items displayed at the Currency Gallery bring in a consecutive history about the evolution of the Chinese currency. Exhibits include the metal coins (round shape with a square hole in the center) that were cast from bronze, iron, or other metals, and used in circulation from the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.); paper made currencies that were reportedly emerged from the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127). In addition, the Persian gold coins discovered on the Silk Road extend the catalog with exotic features.

There is also an exhibition room on the 4th floor prepared for any use of a temporary exhibition.

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Venue Details
  • Shanghai Museum

    No.201 Renmin Avenue, by Middle Xizang Road


    31.228397 121.475442


    PriceFree entry

    CardsFree entry

    HoursDaily 9am-5pm (last entry by 4pm)


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