Add:201 People's Ave, People's Square
Tel:021-6372 3500(Engilish Available)
Time:9am-5pm (last entry 4pm)
Credit Cards Accepted
English Service Available
Located in the center of Shanghai in People's Square, Shanghai Museum is a leading repository of Chinese civilization. The museum's 120,000 cultural relics covering 5,000 years of Chinese history reveal the ingenuity and creativity of a nation. The museum’s style and presentation surround visitors with artifacts demonstrating ancient wisdom and philosophy. The exterior design of the round dome and the square base symbolizes the ancient idea of a round heaven and a square land.
Shanghai Museum was founded in December, 1952. It was formerly located at 325 West Nanjing Road, site of the old Shanghai Horse Racing Club Building and now the Shanghai Art Museum. Under Marshal Chen Yi, the first mayor of Shanghai after the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, additional funds were allocated for the museum to purchase items from antique dealers and private collectors. Thanks to Chen, the museum was able to build up its bronze collection, now considered one of the finest in the world.
The museum is divided into 11 galleries and three exhibition halls. The galleries cover most of the major categories of Chinese art: Ancient Bronze, Ancient Ceramics, Paintings, Calligraphy, Ancient Sculpture, Ancient Jade, Coins, Ming and Qing Furniture, Seals, and Minority Nationalities.
The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Bronze shows about 440 pieces of various kinds of ancient Chinese bronzes, including wine vessels, food vessels, musical instruments, weapons, etc. The distinctively shaped and beautifully decorated bronzes, some with historic inscriptions, are an important mark of ancient Chinese civilization and a highly respected treasure of Chinese cultural heritage.
The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Calligraphy shows eminent personages' original handwriting. Chinese calligraphy can be traced back to the Shang Dynasty and it matured in the Dongzhou Dynasty. Official script was popular in the Han Dynasty, while cursive script, regular script and running hand emerged during Weijing Period. The latter three reached the peak in the Tang and Song Dynasties. All the later scripts were patterned after them and developed their distinguished styles. About 100 essential pieces of calligraphy displayed here mirror the history of Chinese handwriting.
The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Ceramics displays over 500 pieces of various fine ceramics from Neolithic times to the end of the Qing Dynasty. A large number are high-quality products from famous porcelain kilns, with many rare pieces never before shown to the public.
The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Jades displays over 400 pieces of various jade wares and treasure. The heyday of Chinese jade ware was the Shang Dynasty. After the Donghan Ages, the technique of jade making was lost, but revived in the Tang and Song Dynasties.
The Gallery of Arts and Crafts by Chinese Minorities shows about 600 pieces of work of art, such as dress and personal adornment, dyed and woven embroidery, metal ware, sculpture, ceramics, and bamboo wares used by ethnic minorities. Different styles, remarkable color and creative conception embody the pursuit of a happier life. All these form an essential part of Chinese tradition in the field of art.
The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Coins shows the historical change and development of Chinese coins. The gallery displays about 7,000 pieces exhibits inclusive of bronze coins (which have the longest history), gold, silver, black copper, iron coins and paper money. At the same time, there are some foreign gold, silver, and copper coins that were circulated widely in China. This is the largest and most complete exhibition of Chinese coins.
The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Paintings showcases about 140 masterpieces. These works with varied styles and ingenuity mirror the tradition and evolution of Chinese culture. The decoration of the gallery embodies ancient architectural style and scholarly style.
The Gallery of Ancient Chinese Seals displays more than 500 seals that date back to the Zhou Dynasties and as late as the Qing Dynasty. This is but a small sample of the museum’s 10,000 seals. These differently styled signets reflect the long history of seals in China and embody profound cultural sophistication.
It's easy to look around on your own, since labels in English are arranged beside every piece. You can also rent an audio commentary machine, but you need to pay a deposit. A free double-page tour guide is available.
Hours: 9am-5pm (last entry 4pm)
Tickets: 20 yuan (US$2.50); student tickets are free, but free student-group tickets must be booked in advance. Dial 6372-3500 extension 132. Tickets for retired people, soldiers and people aged over 70 or under 18 are free. A 45-yuan discount package is available (Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Grand Theater).
To get there: Metro Line 1, 2 or 8 (at People’s Square station) or buses No. 574, 112, 123, 71, 934, 145, 46
Plan your schedule well and leave time for the museum’s gift shop which sells many interesting souvenirs.
No cameras and no mobile phones allowed.