Shanghai Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Jenn966 on October 28, 2002

The Shanghai Museum has a bit of everything that is China. In galleries ranging over four floors, you will find a wide variety of items depicting life in China over the centuries.

As is my habit, I decided to see the museum from the top down. The fourth floor housed, among other things, a display of some beautiful items of the ethnic people of China. The vast majority of Chinese people belong to the Han ethnicity, but a wide range of other cultures have been recognized by the Chinese government as having "special" cultural significance. The Shanghai Museum and the Museum of Ethnic People in Guilin celebrate the differences in dress, music and culture of the diverse ethnic groups. The costumes and jewelry on display are very different in this section are very different than those of Han manufacture seen elsewhere.

Other special collections include a large display of jade items and one of pottery. Chops, or seals bearing the carved name of the people who owned them, are shown in a carefully designed exhibit that demonstrates how they changed over time. Coins and weapons are similary shown.

I enjoyed the display of furniture, most of it from the 16th and 17th centuries. There were two rooms of furniture that had been set up to represent a calligrapher's workshop and the reception room of a noble house. Other pieces are shown individually, allowing you to examine the handicraft up close.

Cameras are allowed throughout the museum. I didn't even get a reproaching glance for using my flash. The museum is relatively new, and I think the curator and staff are happy to see people taking pictures to share the experience and encourage others to visit.

More information about the ethnic minorities can be found here (I apologize for any political agenda, but it has a good description and lots of pictures).

Shanghai Museum
201 Renmin Avenue
Shanghai, China, 200003
(021) 63725300-132

© LP 2000-2009