The museum was founded in 1952 and was first open to the public in the former Shanghai Racecourse club house, now at 325 West Nanjing Road. In 1959 the museum moved into the former Zhonghui Building at 16 South Henan Road, which previously housed insurance companies and bank offices. In 1992, the Shanghai municipal government allocated a piece of land on People's Square to the museum as its new site.
The museum has a collection of over 120,000 pieces, including bronze, ceramics, calligraphy, furniture, jades, ancient coins, paintings, seals, sculptures, minority art and foreign art. The Shanghai Museum houses several items of national importance, including one of three extant specimens of a "transparent" bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty.
The museum is divided into eleven galleries and three exhibition halls. The eleven Galleries cover most of the major categories of Chinese art: Ancient Bronze, Ancient Ceramics, Paintings, Calligraphy, Ancient Sculpture, Ancient Jade, Coins, Ming and Qing Furniture, Seals, and Minority Nationalities.
The bronze ware of the Shang and Zhou dynasties contribute to our understanding of ancient civilization. The over 400 pieces of exquisite bronze wares cover the history of ancient Chinese bronze art.
The ancient ceramics collection is a special Shanghai Museum treasure. Among the more than 500 pieces are artwork from various dynasties, such as painted and gray pottery from the Neolithic age, primitive celadon from the Shang, Zhou and Warring States, mature celadon from the East Han Dynasty , the well known tri-colored glazed pottery from the Tang Dynasty, blue, white and black glazed as well as painted porcelain from the Song, Jin and Liao, and the brilliant works from Jingdezhen, Jiangxi, the center of the industry during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.
Chinese paintings and calligraphy have profound traditions and unique national styles. Masterpieces from different periods and genres are featured.The Gallery of Chinese Ancient Sculpture focuses mainly on Buddhist sculptures.
Jade in ancient China was both decoration and the symbol of wealth and power. It was further personified to symbolize perfect morality. The elegance of jade wares glows through its crystal colors and vivid patterns.
The Ming and Qing dynasties witnessed the heyday of Chinese furniture. The gallery shows a refined garden-like residence of that time. Even a simple chair demonstrates Chinese culture and etiquette.
First of its kind, the Gallery of Chinese Seals, reflects the importance of seals in history from the Western Zhou to the end of the Qing Dynasty.
How to get Shanghai Museum
Address: No 201, Ren Min Da Dao Huangpu District Shanghai 200003
Tel : 86-21-63723500*132, or Hotline: 86-21-96968686
Opening Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (last entry at 16:00)
Take bus 46, 71, 112, 123, 145, 916, 925 or Tunnel Line 6 and get off at People's Square Station
Take City Sightseeing Bus and get off at Shanghai Museum.
Take Subway Line 1, Line 2, Line 8 and get off at People's Square Station. Get out of the station from Exit 1and walk south. You can see the museum.