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Shanghai Museum

Address: 201 Renmin Avenue, Huangpu district, Shanghai
Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (no entry after 16:00)
Closed Mondays (except for national holidays)
Email address:
General admission: free (a max of 8,000 admitted daily)

[Photo/Official Weibo account of Shanghai Museum]

Throughout the 5,000 years of Chinese history, China has never stopped preserving and passing on its culture. The cultural relics, serving as witnesses and carriers of history and civilization, made themselves irreplaceable in this great mission. Those of particular importance and great value were in time labeled as a “National Treasure”.

In 2017 China Central Television launched a TV show adopting the name National Treasure, presenting 27 works of both art and historical values selected from nine top museums across the country. The show was very popular and received overwhelmingly favorable remarks. The Shanghai Museum was one of the nine, and the three artworks selected from it are regarded among the most precious collections of the museum.

One is the Big Ding Tripod of Ke (大克鼎), a representative bronze ritual object made in the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC). It is decorated with intricate patterns all over the exterior from the neck to the feet, and features an inscription of 290 words in the interior that recorded information about the owner of the tripod. In the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911), it was known as the “Three Cherished Bronze Ware in China” along with the Great Yu Tripod (大盂鼎) and Duke Mao Tripod (毛公鼎).

Another is the Rectangular Sheng Measuring Vessel of Shang Yang (商鞅方升, Shang Yang Fangsheng), a standard capacity measurement tool invented by Shang Yang, a statesman and reformer of the State of Qin during the Warring States Period (475-221BC), and still used after Emperor Qin Shi Huang united China and founded the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) to facilitate the rule of the empire. Therefore, the item is of great historical value.

The last is a silk tapestry of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), which uses Kesi skill, a highly-skilled silk weaving technique, to vividly depict egrets, kingfishers, dragonflies, insects, and ducks at a lotus pond.

Founded in 1952, the Shanghai Museum boasts a collection of 1,020,000 precious relics, featuring bronzes, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy, sculpture, oracle bone, seals, ancient coins, jades, furniture, embroidery, lacquer ware, and the art of minorities. Its best collections include bronzes, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy works. The museum enjoys a high reputation at home and abroad thanks to the abundance and quality of the collections.

The museum building is designed with a dome and a square base, symbolizing the ancient Chinese theory of a spherical heaven and a square earth. This architectural combination of traditional culture and modern spirit makes the museum unique among museums in the world.

Last Updated: Dec 07, 2018

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