Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shanghai Trip Day 7B - The Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai museum is supposed to have all famous historical facts about Chinese history - sculpture, coins, paintings etc. I take a few pics of the garden outside which looks beautiful especially when it was drizzling.
A closer one of the flowers. Couldn't figure out what flowers they were, though.
I also get myself clicked by a passerby.
The travel guide book says that there is an entry fee of 20 rmb but somehow it turns out that there is no entry ticket here. i gladly get in. The museum has four floors. The first floor (actually the ground floor) has two major galleries - one of bronze and the other of Sculpture. Let's get a view of them one by one. I will try to put only few good pics to summarize the visit or else it shall become boring. So the first one goes.

The bronze gallery
the most striking thing in the Bronze museum is the DING (food vessel) of DUKE QIN (7th Centur B.C.). This is exactly how the museum building is shaped.
The other interesting thing was Wine Vessel called HE which dated back to 9th century B.C.
I moved on to the Sculpture Gallery

The Sculpture gallery
The most striking ones are the two figures of Buddha, one sitting and the other lying asleep. Didn't find others quite different from the ones available at any of the Indian museums.
The ground floor doesn't have anything interesting. It does talk about a multimedia studio but I couldn't figure out where it was so just climbed up to the 2nd floor.

The Ceramics Gallery

The Second floor has two ceramics galleries - one is called the Ancient Chinese Ceramics gallery and the other is called Zande Lou Ceramics gallery. The first one mainly has pottery while the second one abounds in statues.
When you enter the gallery, a proud statement welcomes you at the entrance, " Pottery belongs to all mankind, but Porcelain is China's invention." the gallery takes you through the development of the porcelain chronologically with beautifully arranged objects.
This one is of Neolithic period. I also liked this camel from AD.518-618 and kept wondering why would there be animals in China. Well, I will have to find out.
The other interesting ones were a beautiful pot and a pillow !!! Why would someone have a porcelain pillow and that too so small ?
Here's the pillow of porcelain
But, the most intersting part was the kilns and a small model of the village Shanqingkou (Jiangshan county, Zhejiang Province).
I think I enjoyed myself in the ceramics gallery. It was more like going through your history books of class 6 and I am sure the place would mostly be visited by schoolkids to be told about their history. Anyways, i move up to the 3rd floor. This floor has a lot of things of my interest - painting and calligraphy.

The Calligraphy Gallery

This is the most striking thing in the museum, especially for a foreigner. It contains specimens of calligraphy of Mandarin (the chinese script) from ancient times till today. One has to accept that it is one of the most beautiful scripts in the world.
The calligraphy gallery also went on in a chronological manner and it was great to see those beautifully calligraphed writings. Though I couldn't read them, i knew that most of them were poems.
It was amazing to see how some of the texts were written on a very ..very ..long piece of paper (or may be it was some other material)
It was also weird to notice that there were writings done on stele (some form of metal, i guess)
and on stone...
After having seen the calligraphy of the several dynasties, i moved on to the painting gallery and i stayed there for long.

The Painting Gallery

This gallery had some of the most beautiful paintings that I have ever seen and I was surprised to see how old they were.
I just went on clicking...
and on...
one more please...
There's one more gallery on the third floor. It is called the Seals Gallery

The Seals Gallery

This gallery has seals of all times. They are very small and it can become boring to see them one by one. But I found few interesting ones with animal figures made out in them. Here are two for sample.

a tortoise and a mythological chinese animal
I then moved to the last floor, the fourth floor.

The Currency Gallery

These had coins of different times and I actually didn't find it very interesting because all coins of all ages looked the same to me. The only weird fact was the cast iron coins which were not round
like other coins.
Neverthelss, the coins do deserve some space in this post. So be it..
and the gold ones...
There comes now one of the most interesting galleries with one of the most confusing names. It is called Minority Nationalities Art Gallery.
The Minority Nationalities Art Gallery

By the name it feels as if it were some boring gallery with god-knows-what details but when you enter it, a beautiful idol with a festive dress welcomes you and you know that you were wrong about guessing the content of the gallery.
And then I found more interesting idols in more interesting dresses.
Now I know where do all thsoe short skirts come from... From Some minority nationalities historic culture :)
Well, this gallery has many more interesting things, one of them being the numerous masks that amuse and scare you.
Some the-very-famous-Chinese-hats...
and some weapons and jewelry...
I could identify with these long copper horns ( I had seen similar things in Kullu and in Ladakh).
I moved to the next gallery on the fourth floor called the Jade Gallery

The Jade Gallery
I didn't find it very interesting but the dispaly was quite eye catching, especially the entrance...
The lighting was really cool...
and worth taking a pic...
Then I move to the last gallery on the fourth floor, called the Furniture Gallery.

The Furniture Gallery

This had some of the really attractive wooden furniture. I liked this armchair of the Ming dynasty a lot.
and this canopy bed of the 14th-17th century.
There was also a reception hall of an old Chinese house.
I finally came out of the museum, satiated that I had a good glimpse of the Chinese history and culture. Wanted to click the ding-shaped museum once again before moving on.
Let me now move on to find out my next target spot - The Shanghai Urban Planning Center (in the next post)

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