The Shanghai Museum was originally established in 1952 and completely remodeled in 1994. The stunning, state-of-the-art museum is emblematic of the many changes and reformations Shanghai experienced in the time between its original founding and rebuilding.
The museum showcases 120,000 relics, 1/3 of which have never been shown to the public before. The building itself it also magnificent, designed to echo the shapes of a famous bronze mirror from the Han dynasty as well as a ding (tripod shaped vessel used for cooking and serving).
The most famous gallery in this must-see museum is the Ancient Chinese Bronzes Gallery. Some of the bronzes date back to the 21 st century BC, and the diversity of the collection is truly impressive. The exhibit highlights the importance of bronze in ritual worship and emphasizes its uses in everyday life.
Relics in the Ancient Chinese Sculpture Gallery range from the works of the Han and the Qin to Buddhist works which were influenced by Central Asian Cultures from the Silk Road. The Ancient Chinese Ceramics Gallery is one of the largest in the museum, with some artifacts that are 6,000 years old and a spectacular variety of porcelain from the Qing dynasty.
The Chinese Painting Gallery displays assorted styles of Chinese art while the Calligraphy Gallery demonstrates the beauty of Chinese writing on bamboo strips, oracle bones, parchment, and seals in various styles of calligraphy.
The Ancient Chinese Jade Gallery shows the transformation from jade discs used for worship to its uses later for jewelry and weaponry. The Coin Gallery displays a selection of coins with holes in the middle (due to the fact that coins were carried on a piece of string) and other coins shaped like keys and knives.
The Ming & Qing Furniture Gallery feature graceful sandalwood furniture from the Ming dynasty as well as the opulent, elaborate pieces from the Qing.
Last but not least is the Minority Nationalities Art Gallery, which aims to showcase the depth and breadth of China’s 56 minority groups. The exhibits range from salmon skin suits of the Hezhenin Heilongjiang, the furs of the Siberian Oroqen, to the satin robes of the Uyghurs. For those who desire to take a part of the museum with them, the museum gift shop offers excellent souvenirs of the exhibits within.