Shanghai Museum






HUANGPU - People's Square


The Shanghai Museum is considered one of China's most significant museums, which is proud of a wide collection of cultural relics that have charted the rich history of the nation.

Established in 1996, this uniquely shaped museum is situated inside a parcel of green land which was formerly part of the city's racecourse in the colonial age.

The building of the museum was shaped into a round top based on a square base that figuratively conveys a Chinese traditional definition of "天圆地方 a round heaven and a square earth" which was the initial perception of the "universe". The round top is modeled on a giant bronze pot called "Ding 鼎" which is a kind of food container (especially for meats) used only in aristocracy circles in ancient China. On the southern side of the museum, eight sacred animal statues are flanking the museum's entrance in the pose of treasure protecting.

The exhibition is grouped into individual galleries with respective themes, all of which have been set onto 4 floors.

Floor 1: The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Bronze, and the Gallery of Ancient Chinese Sculpture

The composition of over 400 exhibits showcased in the Bronze Gallery is narrating the history of the development of bronze-ware-making technology in a wide history span in ancient China (18th century B.C. – 3rd century B.C.). The exquisite patterns and inscriptions engraved on weapons, wares for household or ceremony, and instruments are still clear to read, looking like there is no wear caused by the time.

The Sculpture Gallery exhibits over 120 pieces of sculpture relics to specify how the sculpturing technique improved over the period of 2,100 years (475 B.C. – A.D. 1644). The bulk of the sculptures are shaped in Buddhism figures, which implies a strong cultural influence that Buddhism had given to the society in ancient China.

Floor 2: The Gallary of Ancient Chinese Ceramics

The gallery puts 500+ pieces of pottery and porcelain work under the spotlight, bringing in the evolution of ceramic making in a huge history span that could begin from the Neolithic age to the Qing Dynasty in a total of 8,000 years. Preeminences of all the history include the painted potteries in the Neolithic Age, proto-celadon works in the Warring States Periods (770 – 221 B.C.), celadon glaze works in 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 puts a total of 120 pieces of genuine works in the collection, wrapping up various aesthetic characteristics of Chinese painting arts into rows of parades. The artworks are collected from 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), ranging from landscape painting, portrait painting, and flowers-and-birds painting.

The gallery is implementing a set of techniques to prevent these priceless artworks from getting worn, including motion-sensor illuminations, thermostat equipment, humidity controls, etc.

Calligraphy is considered an extension of art expressing in ancient China, its history can be traced back thousands of years ago in Shang Dynasty 商朝 (1562 B.C. – 1066 B.C.). There are over 70 calligraphy artworks exhibited in Calligraphy Gallery in forms of inscriptions engraved on the surface of various substances like oracle bones, bronze wares, bamboo strips, or stone tablets, and the poems or letters written on papers and scrolls.

In the Chinese Seal Gallery, a total of 500 seal relics are housed under exhibition, history of which spans from the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 B.C. – 771 B.C.) to the late Qing Dynasty (1840 – 1912). 

Floor 4: The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Jade, The Gallery of Chinese Currency

The Jade Gallery is the place where over 300 jade wares in form of wine vessels, jewelry, and house ornaments are showcased for exhibition, the oldest relic can be traced back to the Neolithic Age.

In the Currency Gallery, 3,000 currency relics and specimens are displayed in the thread of China's currency development. You'll see metal coins cast from bronze, iron, and other metals and circulated since Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.) and paper notes that first emerged from Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127). In addition, the Persian gold coins unearthed in the Silk Road complement the exhibition with exotic features.

There is also a spare exhibition room on the 4th floor prepared for any 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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