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Shanghai Museum

Updated on March 2, 2007

Ornately Carved Jade

Bed in Museum

Jade Disc Used to Worship Heaven

Visiting the Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum is built to resemble an ancient bronze ding, which is a three-legged food vessel used for cooking and serving. The exhibits include Ancient Chinese Bronze, Ancient Chinese Jade, Calligraphy, Chinese Painting, and Ming and Qing Furniture.

The museum’s most famous gallery is the Ancient Chinese Bronze Gallery. The exhibit contains bronzes dating back to the 21st century BCE. Just a few of the types of bronze objects the museum displays are wine bottles, bowls, goblets, dings, stylized animal motifs of dragons, lions, and phoenixes, and bells.

My favorite gallery was the Ancient Chinese Jade Gallery. There were examples of jade from the simplest early carvings to later, more complex carving. The small jade discs used to worship heaven were examples of some of the earliest and simplest carvings, dating back 5,000 years. I was really amazed at the intricate carving of some of the larger pieces. I cannot imagine men carving these using the ancient technology of bamboo drills, abrasive sand, and garnets crushed in water. Although a lot of people thought the bronzes showed the advanced ancient Chinese civilization, the jade was what made me realize it the most.

Of course, it would not be a tourist destination without a shop or two. The gift shops contained everything from books on the exhibits (some were even in English), pins, postcards (a whole wall of ones to choose from), magnets, and replicas of some of the items in the exhibits. At the gift shop on the top floor of the museum, there was a machine that would engrave a coin with an image of the museum. You could get it to say anything you wanted. I put Beijing Bowling Classic (the official name of my trip) and the date. A lot of people put the names of their friends and family with their birth dates.

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