Shanghai: 10 Things to Do

3. Shanghai Museum

Man looks at a wine vessel on display in glass case at the Shanghai Museum, China Tim Graham / Getty
  • Print
  • Email
  • Share
  • Single Page

Given its much-vaunted 5,000 years of history, China's museums are, in general, a sorry lot. Exhibits are badly lighted, the English information often a jumble of incomprehensible nouns. (In truth, some of China's finest artwork was carted off by the departing Nationalists in 1949, when they quit the mainland for Taiwan. But that still doesn't excuse the pathetic state in which most of the country's national treasures are displayed.) The Shanghai Museum, located on People's Square, is a welcome antidote to all that's dark and dingy. You don't — and shouldn't — try to digest it all in one go. My suggestion: Pick one section, whether it's calligraphy or jades or ceramics, and dig in. Personally, I find the bronzes strangely fascinating; in fact, the shape of the museum itself mimics that of an ancient bronze cauldron.

Connect to this TIME Story

Interact with
this story

  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Linkedin

From our

Get the Latest News from
Sign up to get the latest news and headlines delivered straight to your inbox.