Add:233 Zhongshan Rd E., Songjiang
This museum, located on Zhongshan Road next to Fangta Park, traces 5,500 years of the district’s history.
It was founded in 1915, and its façade retains an old-style, inviting architecture of upturned eaves, whitewashed walls and grey-tile roofs.
Inside are more than 5,000 pieces of porcelain, jade, wooden sculpture, bronze vessels and gold accessories. In addition, the museum holds about 2,000 ancient books, including some in priceless block-print editions.
During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, Songjiang was an economic and cultural center of China – a place renowned for its artists and scholars. It was also a major cotton center that provided much of the clothing of the day.
Visitors to the museum often marvel at how well this art collection evokes a glorious past.
The museum displays the country’s only engraved stone portrait of Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322), a favorite imperial calligrapher, and China’s oldest and the most complete engraved stone slab depicting the ancient history of Shanghai.
There’s also a stele ordered by the Kangxi Emperor (1654-1722) and a rich collection of ink paintings and calligraphy pieces by great masters like Zhao Mengfu and Dong Qichang (1555-1636), both Songjiang natives.
The museum has two floors. The first is dedicated to seasonal art exhibitions, while the second floor displays the museum’s standing collection.
One of the biggest highlights is a bronze Buddha statue, embossed in gold and dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was discovered in 1965 in the district’s Tongbotang River. About 17 centimeters high and 470 grams in weight, the statue features delicate carving and a vivid facial expression.
Another must-see is a bronze cannon, excavated in Sijing Town in 1971. It is 96 centimeters long with a 6-centimeter inner diameter. The 100-kilogram cannon was used in the Taiping rebellion (1850-64).
Songjiang was once home to the Guangfulin culture, and an underground tomb site in the district was unearthed to reveal cooking vessels and tools used by forebears about 2,000 years ago. In the museum, visitors can view some of the skeletons of animals discovered at the site as well as many of the vessels that were excavated.