With nearly 800 years of history rich with cultural heritage, Jiading is home to a number of national key cultural sites, including the Jiading Confucius Temple, one of the best known in regions south of the Yangtze River.
It can also lay claim to eminent historical figures such as the first diplomat in the Republic of China Vi Kyuin Wellington Koo, and the painter and literati Lu Yanshao.
In addition to cultural landmarks such as the state-backed Jiading Museum, Lu Yanshao Art Gallery and Han Tianheng Art Museum, there are also a number of ordinary Jiading people who have founded private museums in an effort to preserve the city’s history. Below we give details of three of the best.
Furen Ceramics Art Museum
The Furen Ceramics Museum of Art hosts a rare collection of ceramic art pieces from private collectors. It has more than 5,000 pieces of ceramics, ranging from vessels to statues. It was set up by Ding Furen, a Shanghai collector, and the items reflect more than 5,000 years of Chinese history and culture.
Among the pieces what the museum considers its greatest treasure — a set of Molin plates and tableware for weddings modelled on the Tongzhi Emperor (1856-1875) style.
The plates were made by Qiu Xile from Jingdezhen over 20 years. On the plates are 165 masterpieces from 84 calligraphers from the Western Jin Dynasty (265-316 AD) to the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). They are a perfect combination of two art forms.
Creating calligraphy porcelain is very complicated, usually only one piece of work can be completed in a month. First of all a tracing of the original ancient paper is applied to the white porcelain plate, and then another layer of thin silk color is brushed on the ceramic plate. After that the original work is copied by hand. Then the ceramic plates go through repeated high temperature firing and are hung on the wall with mahogany frames as if they were a piece of genuine calligraphy.
The tableware modeled on Tongzhi style took 72 processes over three years to complete. Only two sets of this kind of tableware exist, with one set in the National Museum in Thailand.
Address: 58 Weiwu Rd, Nanxiang Town
Opening hours: 9am-12pm (except holidays)
Ming Zhi Tang
Last year, the first academic seminar on ancient Chinese bricks was held in Jiading, organized by the China Society of the Pre-Qin History and Shanghai Ming Zhi Tang Ancient Brick Culture Research and Conservation Center.
Words bricks are inscribed with Chinese characters recording construction dates and other information.
The Chinese word brick exhibition hall of Ming Zhi Tang is in the Juyuan New Area and has a collection of nearly 30,000 ancient bricks, most of them word bricks, but there are also some portrait bricks.
They show handwriting from famous academics including Gao Shixiong, Zhou Zhenhe and Li Xueqin.
Among the collection, more than 200 word bricks are from central China and ancient Sichuan regions. About 200 of them were stone plates from the Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties, including a number of city wall bricks.
According to owner Zhu Mingqi, these ancient bricks can verify and compliment our knowledge of historical events. They can also give an insight into subjects such as ancient economics, architecture history, folklore, painting history, intellectual history, seal cutting and fine arts, Zhu said, and are an often neglected treasury.
More than 10 years ago, Zhu went to Anji in Zhejiang Province to sell his company’s products there. Along the township roads from Huzhou to Anji, various ancient bricks from the Han and Jin dynasties were scattered on the fields of old villages and behind traditional town houses. He collected more than 300 of these bricks and that formed the basis for Ming Zhi Tang.
From an initial study of these ancient bricks, Zhu found abundant Chinese ancient culture. These ancient bricks record ancestors’ activities during their struggle for survival, their rational thinking and cultural achievements, as well as the formation and development of world outlook and aesthetic values.
The Luo Bin Art Museum mainly collects and shows Chinese ceramics, as well as calligraphy and paintings which were purchased from home and abroad and some of them exhibited through partnership with other collectors.
The most precious collection in the museum is a plum bottle patterned with mackerel and seaweed decorative figures from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The 42 centimeter tall plum bottle is decorated with 11 kinds of trumpet shells, coral and as well as various kinds of fish. The overall pattern is so vivid as if the fish are moving between the aquatic plants and grasses.