The Shanghai Museum is regarded as one of the best museums in China. It was established in 1952 and moved here in 1996. It is located just south of the People’s Square and has 7 floors. The building features a round top and a square base. In Chinese culture the shape represents the concept of “a round heaven and a square earth.” The south entrance is flanked by 8 sculptures of traditional Chinese sacred animals to protect the treasures in the museum.
The Shanghai Museum has 11 galleries and 3 special exhibition halls. It boasts a collection of over 1 million historical artifacts. The first floor displays a collection of bronze ware, the 2nd floor displays a collection of pottery and porcelain ware, the 3rd floor displays a collection of paintings, calligraphy and seals, and the 4th floor displays a collection of jade articles, coins, ancient furniture and minority items. The most significant exhibits are the bronze ware, pottery and porcelain ware, calligraphy and paintings.
In the Bronze ware collection, there are over 400 pieces of bronze ware on display here which range from the 18th to 3rd century B.C. The most valuable article is a typical food vessel with 3 legs and named “Da Ke Ding,” which is said to be the inspiration of the museum. The bronze ware exhibition hall includes 3 sections: bronze technology in ancient China, casting techniques of Chinese bronze, and bronze ware of ancient Chinese minorities. In addition, there are 4 points to appreciate the bronze ware: the models, the patterns, the inscriptions, and the casting techniques.
The 2nd floor which displays the pottery and porcelain ware. There are over 500 pieces on display here, which range from the Neolithic Age to the Qing Dynasty. It contains 8000 years of history. The main articles are tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty, blue-white porcelain of the Song Dynasty and under-glazed blue porcelain of the Yuan Dynasty.
The 3rd floor where we will find the galleries of ancient Chinese Calligraphy, Paintings and the Seals.The gallery of Calligraphy displays inscriptions on oracle bones and stone tablets. It also displays the different types of calligraphy from different periods. The types of Chinese calligraphy include: the seal script, the official script, regular script, running script and cursive script. The most famous calligrapher is Wang Xizhi.
In the hall of paintings, over 120 masterpieces are on display, including Chinese paintings, landscape paintings, figure paintings, as well as flower and bird paintings. They are made by the same tools as calligraphy, which are the Chinese brush, Chinese ink, paper or silk and inkstone. The Seal Gallery is also displayed on the third floor and includes over 500 pieces of ancient seals.