Top collections of bronzes, calligraphy and ceramics
The museum’s collections of bronze artefacts, calligraphy and ceramics are world-class. The bronzes – treasures from the Shang and Zhou dynasties – are approximately 3,500 years old. Household items, such as three-legged cauldrons, bowls and clocks are often decorated with animals. Calligraphy, an art form where Chinese characters are written with a brush, also dates back to the Shang dynasty. The oldest known calligraphy is engraved in bone. The collection of antique ceramics ranges from Stone Age pots and green-grey glazed vases to white porcelain statues from the Ming dynasty. Take a break at the museum’s tea house and visit the museum store to buy replicas of the beautiful collection pieces. Just keep in mind that the porcelain items are very fragile so pack them carefully for your flight home.
The museum in the early evening light
A comprehensive museum
Over the years, the Shanghai Museum has greatly expanded its collection. Since the museum first opened in 1952, it has already moved twice after running out of space. Construction of the current museum building at the People’s Square in the heart of the city began in 1993. Three years later the museum was inaugurated. To emphasize its comprehensive collection, the museum’s building consists of a square base with a round upper part. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, the square shape represents the earth and the circle symbolizes heaven.