Shanghai Museum

Located in the center of downtown Shanghai, the Shanghai Museum is arguably the best museum in China. It was brilliantly designed and the exhibitions are on par with any museum in the world. The artifacts on display are labeled in Chinese and English. It is a fantastic way to see China’s thousands of years of history first-hand.

The Museum opened in 1996. It was designed by a local Shanghai architect and is shaped like a ding, an ancient bronze cooking vessel which was the symbol of power in ancient China. IT has a round top with a square base. Traditionally in China, Heaven was symbolized by a circle and the earth by a square. The combination of a circle and a square symbolizes all things in heaven and earth. The Museum has ten permanent exhibition halls with three temporary halls on four floors. Each floor is centered on a large atrium. There are bathrooms on each floor and stairs, escalators, and elevator to get to each one. The first floor has a coatroom and handicapped bathrooms.

The museum has over 120,000 pieces in its collection, representing thousands of years of Chinese history. Many of them are exhibited in the eleven permanent galleries and temporary exhibits are housed in the three temporary exhibition halls.
Ancient Chinese Bronze hall
The bronze hall has one of the largest Ancient Chinese bronze collections in the world. There are over 400 pieces of exquisite bronze ware from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties in their collection.

Ancient Chinese Sculpture Hall
The sculpture hall exhibits a beautiful collection of Buddhist sculptures from throughout China and across many centuries.

Ancient Chinese Ceramics Hall
One of the most important collections in the museum is their ceramics collection. There are more than 500 pieces on display that date back from the Neolithic age until the Qing Dynasty. Every Chinese dynasty and empire is represented with some of the best pieces in existence.

Chinese Painting Hall
The museum has a wonderful collection of ancient Chinese paintings covering every type and style. It is a fantastic glimpse into the ancient Chinese arts.

Chinese Calligraphy Hall
The Calligraphy hall showcases some of the finest Chinese calligraphic works in the world. Chinese Seal Hall
Chinese seals were a very important part of every Chinese person’s life and were works of art in their own right. The Shanghai Museum’s seal collection has examples dating back over a thousand years ago.

Chinese Minority Nationalities Hall
China has 56 Ethnic Minority Groups, each with its own unique culture, clothing, and traditions. The Shanghai Museum has an impressive collection of clothing and art on display.

Ancient Jade Hall
In China, jade has always been a symbol of wealth and power. It is the second hardest stone, behind diamonds, and the skill and time required to carve it makes the beautiful pieces in the museum’s collection that much more impressive

Ming and Qing Dynasty Furniture Hall
The Ming and Qing Dynasties were the pinnacle of Chinese furniture building. The Shanghai Museum has an incredible collection of furniture on display. In one of the most interesting displays they have reproduced a typical study’s layout using period furniture. A lot can be learned from these functional works of art.

Chinese Coin Gallery
One of the earliest countries to use currency, Chinese coins are quite beautiful and shows an interesting advancement in culture. The museum has around seven thousand coins on display. Some of them are works of art.