As one of the best museum in China, Shanghai museum locates in the very center - on the famous People's Square. In 1952, suggested by the first mayor of Shanghai since its liberation, hen Yi, some smaller museums featuring different exhibitions were combined as one--shanghai museum as we see today.
The whole building style of the museum is in accordance with the traditional Chinese belief "the heaven is round while the earth square", so it takes a round roof with a square base, which looks like a huge bronze vessel. It covers an area of 40,000 square meters, with one floor underground and four floors above, which is totally 29.5 meter in height. It's divided into 12 different exhibition areas, in which all precious treasures are kept: bronze wears, jade, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy, ancient coins, antique furniture in Ming and Qing styles and minority people's costumes etc, totally over 112,000 pieces.
The first floor is featured with the most impressive bronze wears dating back to thousands of years ago. Bronze is the ancient Chinese cultural treasures; bronze culture is a record of slave society's image carrier. Shanghai Museum's collection of bronze covers a wide range and owns exquisite craftsmanship. Talking about the collections in different regions of the same period in Western Zhou Dynasty, Spring and Autumn and the Warring States, Shanghai Museum, compared with Beijing Palace Museum, Taipei Palace Museum is particularly featured with the bronze vessels bearing lengthy inscriptions with the history record. This bronze section fully reflects the development of a complete bronze techniques development system with the extraordinary creativity of the Chinese nation. Besides, daily-used vessels as bowls, plates, basins, drink containers, bronze mirrors, instruments like chime bells, weapons used in wars etc, all owns the unprecedented high art value.
The second floor shows the ceramics essence. Ancient Chinese ceramics is one of the great inventions. Firstly, pottery in China has a long history of about 8000 years, dating back to the primitive period. Here shows a different period of pottery culture. Before the Tang Dynasty, pottery making, from the choice of materials, colors, the processes are relatively simple and dull. Up until the Tang Dynasty, "Tang Sancai"-triple colored glazed pottery, marked the emergence a colorful ceramic stage, ushering in the climax of pottery making; In addition to pottery, here also demonstrates our unique innovation of porcelain. The main show here is the development of porcelain and porcelain producing equipment - kiln, and porcelain products exhibition. China is the hometown of porcelain. The invention of porcelain is another great contribution to human civilization of the ancient Chinese working people. More than 3,000 years ago in the Shang period, celadon production had appeared, but were mostly funerary goods; Till Song Dynasty, Chinese ceramics entered an unprecedented period of prosperity with the booming of thousands of good quality kilns; Yuan Dynasty, Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province became the center of porcelain making, thus known as "porcelain capital of China"... All of these provide a panorama.
The paintings and calligraphy exhibition is on the third floor. In terms of number and value, the preserved items in Shanghai Museum owns almost half of all precious works covering a time span of over 1000 years, which ranks the top among the all across the nation; The fourth floor has jade section, ancient coin section, antique furniture section and minority people's costumes section. Jade has special significance to the Chinese, as it's regarded the essence gained from nature, which is endowed with magic power protecting people and extending good wishes. Jade-made stuff is popular both in the ancient and today. People wear jade decoration and use jade vessels, which is actually the symbol of status and dignity to some extent. The jade items exhibited here cover a wide range and express the idea of jade clearly; Ancient coins are not just exhibited items nowadays for the experts and some coin collectors. They’re already a rich base of study and research for them; As china has 56 nationalities, in which 55 are minority groups, the costumes section tells not only where those are from, what they are made of and how they are wear, but also explains the stories behind each of the item and its significance, which is more impressive...
Shanghai Museum enjoys a high reputation among Chinese and experts home and abroad. It has been a must-to-go for the visit in Shanghai, where you would be better informed with details.
Tips of Visiting Shanghai Museum:
1. Since March.10 2008, all museums in China are open for free to all visitors; New rules adopted in May: security check required at the entrance;
2. it's allowed to take pictures inside the museum, though it's dark and if flash on, it's usually reflected back by the glass enclosing the items.
3. Audio machine for rent is very convenient for both group and individual visitors, as its background information provided in the explanation, and you might pick the one you prefer and interested in to listen, just a glimpse over the others.
4. Air-conditioning room with nice restrooms on each floor; escalator leading up and down, and wheelchair can be accepted in the elevator.
5. Coffee shop available on the 2nd floor and the small bookstore on the 1st floor by the main entrance has all kind of informative books, which is highly recommended to go after the visit.
6. Opening time: 9:00a.m-17:00p.m (No entry since 16:00p.m)