Shanghai Travel Guide

Shanghai Museum

Bronze coin (AD 927–51)
Bronze coin (AD 927–51)

With a collection of over 120,000 pieces, the Shanghai Museum displays some of the best cultural relics from China’s neolithic period to the Qing dynasty, a span of over 5,000 years. While the highlights are the bronze ware, ceramics, calligraphy, and painting, it also has excellent displays of jade, furniture, coins, and Chinese seals or "chops." The museum was established in 1952, and the current building opened in 1995 with a design that recalls some of the exhibits and symbolizes "a round heaven and a square earth".

Shanghai Museum - Key to Floorplan

Gallery Guide
The calligraphy and painting exhibits are changed frequently for their own protection. As well as the permanent collections, the museum often shows exhibits from other major museums around the world.

Shanghai Museum, reminiscent of a Shang-dynasty bronze ding pot
Shanghai Museum, reminiscent of
a Shang-dynasty bronze ding pot

Key to Floorplan

  • Bronzes
  • Sculpture
  • Ceramics
  • Zande Lou ceramics
  • Paintings
  • Calligraphy
  • Seals
  • Jade
  • Furniture
  • Coins
  • Ethnic minorities gallery
  • Temporary exhibitions
  • Non-exhibition space
Sancai pottery figures Celadon ware Jade gallery Shang bronzes Landscape paintings
The major technical advance of the Tang dynasty (618–907) in ceramics was the development of sancai (three-color) pottery. This grave figure is a superb piece of polychrome pottery. Celadon’s simple beauty and strength made it highly desirable. This example of Longquan ware from the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279) elegantly captures the movement of the coiled dragon. Sculpture in jade, the quintessential Chinese stone, reached its peak in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) as exemplified by this exquisite jade gu (wine vessel). This jia (wine vessel), a burial gift from the mid-15th–13th century BC, shows great skill and craftsmanship in its sophisticated animal mask design or taotie. Chinese painting owes a great deal to Daoist philosophy. Accordingly, Wang Meng’s (1308–85) picture Retreat in the Qingbian Mountain tries to capture the powerful, almost animate essence of nature.

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