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16 November 2017 / leggypeggy

Shanghai Museum loaded with style

Wine vessel

From about 500BC

bronze ornament

Between 200BC and 8AD

Visiting the Shanghai Museum was one of the rewarding things we did during our short stay in that southern Chinese city.

Founded in 1952, the museum displays some of the country’s most magnificent ancient art.

We were absolutely gobsmacked by the bronzes. We’ve seen bronze all over the world, but the Chinese craftsmanship takes their pieces to new levels of creativity and detail.

Seriously, as we walked from piece to piece, Poor John and I kept commenting on how fine the work was. All the pics directly above this paragraph are of wine or food vessels. How’s that for style!

But the quality wasn’t limited to the bronzes. The museum has 11 permanent galleries and three set aside for temporary exhibitions. The permanent galleries feature items such as ceramics, furniture, sculptures, textiles, paintings, coins, calligraphy, seals and more.

We were intrigued to learn how the early collections were acquired.

During the civil war, the Communist 3rd Field Army gathered artefacts through accidental finds and confiscation of private property. These items came Shanghai when the Communists took the city. The local customs service confiscated other items. Finally, during political purges and under political pressure, private collectors sold some of their cherished possessions to the government.

Later acquisitions weren’t quite as dramatic. That said, the museum ‘rescued’ a lot of bronzeware that was due to be melted down after being confiscated or donated during a metal-gathering campaign in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Before the Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966, wealthy Shanghai collectors had a tradition of making annual donations to the museum.

Today the collections continue to be enriched thorough donations, government purchases and important finds from archaeological excavations.

I’ve had a terrible time trying to decide which pictures to share. The works are so numerous and so amazing, that I have overdone it. Hope you enjoy it half as much as we did.

Do you have a favourite piece?

Mongol headdress

Mongol headdress of coral and silver


Leave a Comment
  1. poshbirdy / Nov 16 2017 2:39 am

    Fascinating. I particularly love the first pic and the yak-covered pot. But the table and chairs are wonderful too

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 6:50 am

      I’m still trying to decide on a favourite—or five!


  2. Phil Huston / Nov 16 2017 2:43 am

    There’s a large collection of Asian art downtown at the Ross Perot center, and it’s fascinating. Like Byzantine, almost, with some of that lack of perspective. But what is most fascinating, and here we go again, is that in your travels you expose us to more fabulous things that are half a world away but echo cultures from South America, Africa…We’re all one. Thank you agian for showing us that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 6:51 am

      Again and again the world reminds me that we are all one.


  3. ralietravels / Nov 16 2017 3:34 am

    We have not been there. But like you, when we saw Chinese work in Taiwan and D.C., we were astounded at the intricacies of this ancient work, especially the bronze, jade and ivory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 6:51 am

      Oh yikes, I just remembered that I forgot to show any ivory.


      • Catnip Blog / Nov 16 2017 6:57 am

        Good that you didn’t show ivory in respect to the Elephants – it’s now illegal and even though the work may be beautiful I, for one, am glad you aren’t giving it “air-time”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 7:09 am

        I’ve gone back and looked at my photos. I even forgot to take pics of the ivory. I must have been channelling your advice. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Catnip Blog / Nov 16 2017 3:38 am

    Spectacular! Thanks for the “virtual” tour since I’ll probably never get to the “actual”. I agree with you the bronzes were incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beetleypete / Nov 16 2017 3:53 am

    All wonderful to see, but my favourite is the Sogdian on a Camel.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Osyth / Nov 16 2017 3:54 am

    Gob duly smacked!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Invisibly Me / Nov 16 2017 3:59 am

    This looks fascinating, I think I could spend all day going around 11 of these galleries! x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Nov 16 2017 4:07 am

    I’ve always loved Asian art and have a few pieces of ordinary works (contemporary copies) in my home. These photos of the real things are so beautiful, I find myself lingering over the images. Each item exhibits extraordinary craftsmanship and a peek into culture and history. My favorite is the container with 8 yaks, because of the delicate detail and the individuality of each yak. But if you told me I could wander only through one room, I wouldn’t be able to choose. The story about how the collection was acquired doesn’t surprise me though I didn’t even think about it till I read what you wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 6:55 am

      I’m also rather partial to the yaks. As for how the early works were collected, I’m relieved they aren’t hidden away in someone’s private collection.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Christie / Nov 16 2017 4:41 am

    I think I have an idea of what kind of “annual donations” they are referring to.. Nonetheless, it is really nice to see all of them in one place, and Chinese ceramics have always been famous. The pot with the landscape is my favourite, but hard to decide.. Great collection!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sy S. / Nov 16 2017 5:38 am

    I very much enjoy seeing Asian Art. The Chinese artwork is amazing and they also like using colors.
    My #1 choice would be the “Heavenly Guardian” figure which is colorful, a fist raised and a hand on his hip… reminds me of similar figures I have seen outside Bangkok Temples… and dancers performing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 6:56 am

      Great point Sy. He does look very Southeast Asian. I like his colours and stance too.


  11. / Nov 16 2017 7:37 am

    Peggy, my favorites are the bronzes and the red lacquerware. My memory of Chinese museums is what a good reminder they are that China is huge, with a huge population, and has been a country for 2000 years! Given that much time, and that much talent, lots of fantastic artworks are going to be made and they have been. Most museums would be happy with a few of these bronzes, and Chinese museums have room, after room full of them. Gobsmacked is the right word. ~James

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 7:52 am

      A person could spend days in there. Luckily admission is free.


  12. Brian Lageose / Nov 16 2017 8:16 am

    Lots of great things, but for some reason I’m particularly drawn to “Ornament”. Perhaps it’s the delicate balance of subtle color and careful detail…

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 9:08 pm

      The ornament is gorgeous. It’s similar to a belt buckle that was on display, but I thought this one was much more elegant.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Anthony / Nov 16 2017 9:20 am

    On my upcoming trip, I have the chance to visit Shanghai for 3 days. The flight price is the same (different airline) but I need to pay for a hotel.
    Having never been there, would you recommend it highly (I will be stretching the budget a bit).

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 9:09 pm

      We stayed at the Phoenix Hostel. Fairly cheap and central. Clean too, but still a hostel. It’s very close to the museum. Mason will give you directions. I can send more details if you need them. 🙂


  14. In My Cluttered Attic / Nov 16 2017 7:16 pm

    Oh, that table and chairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The Whitechapel Whelk / Nov 16 2017 8:34 pm

    Grosvenor Hotel Update: It is now £120 per-night. Despite living round the corner for many years, I have never spent the night in one of their suites. I blame The Dept of Social Security, personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 16 2017 9:12 pm

      Shocking news about the Grosvenor. I’m glad I only had to use the phone! Also glad there’s someone you can blame for the budget blowout!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. derrickjknight / Nov 16 2017 9:50 pm

    Wonderful artifacts well recorded

    Liked by 1 person

  17. robauz / Nov 16 2017 10:38 pm

    I’ve always loved the stunning pre BCE bronzes. So angular. almost Aztec or Mayan. Fab.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 17 2017 1:32 pm

      We were so impressed by these bronzes. Really breathtaking and, yes, some with an Aztec and Mayan look.


  18. Brenda / Nov 16 2017 11:46 pm

    Gorgeous. I particularly like the textiles–that garment is exquisite. Regarding the previous comments on ivory, yesterday Trump lifted the import ban on elephant ivory from Zimbabwe and Zambia. Is anything safe from this man?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 17 2017 1:33 pm

      Oh no, I can’t believe the ban was lifted. I guess nothing is safe from him. I feel sick.

      The textiles were the most colourful and the hardest to photograph because they were all under glass. I loved them too.


      • Brenda / Nov 20 2017 11:01 pm

        Apparently there was so much outrage over lifting the ban that Trump has decided to “review” his decision. Let’s hope that wise heads (and elephants) prevail on this one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 21 2017 5:44 am

        Yes, it seems like for once he reacted to public opinion. Now we wait and hope that he doesn’t change his fickle mind.


  19. Nancy / Nov 17 2017 5:03 am

    All of the pieces and the history behind them fascinate me. Picking one was not easy, but my favorite is the Mongol headdress. The colors and design blow me away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 17 2017 1:34 pm

      I was partial to the headdress too, which is why that pic is one of the full size ones. 🙂


  20. Alison and Don / Nov 17 2017 11:14 am

    So much creativity, skill, and beauty! I think I’d have had a hard time choosing which photos to share too. My favourite is all the clothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. amindfultravellerblog / Nov 17 2017 12:14 pm

    I go photo crazy in museums too, and then it’s always the dilemma of which ones to pick! Great shots of artifacts here Peggy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sy S. / Nov 17 2017 2:07 pm

      Taking lots of photos at museums is great. However, how do you handle remembering or do you write down some info about each photo? Do you have a R2D2 robot following you around LOL

      Liked by 2 people

      • amindfultravellerblog / Nov 17 2017 4:02 pm

        Haha, sometimes if there is information printed next to an exhibit, I take a pic of that to remember! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 18 2017 8:58 am

        My memory isn’t that good. I also photograph the labels beside the exhibit.


    • leggypeggy / Nov 18 2017 8:59 am

      Thanks so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Jolandi Steven / Nov 17 2017 4:07 pm

    This is exquisite, Peggy. I love museums. On a different note, you can drink a glass of something to us tonight. It is official: the land in Portugal is finally ours. Now we need to work on sorting out some sort of living space. And then, of course, we will be ready for visitors . . . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 18 2017 9:00 am

      Oh Jolandi, this is fabulous news. I think I’ll rush out and buy a bottle of Portuguese wine! Huge congratulations. I’ve been thinking of you and wondering. 🙂


      • Jolandi Steven / Nov 18 2017 2:50 pm

        Thank you, Peggy. Myanmar must have been such a different place in the 1980s. I had a lovely time there. Will blog about it soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 18 2017 3:32 pm

        Looking forward to your Myanmar post.


  23. thewonderer86 / Nov 17 2017 6:00 pm

    Magnificent. No surprise that you loved it so. It reminded me of South American stuff I’ve seen. My fave is the first picture, but I also love the headdress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 18 2017 9:01 am

      You’ve figured me out. I often (but not always) start and end a post with my favourite pics.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Vicki / Nov 17 2017 9:59 pm

    Love them. Truly exquisite artwork.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. inesephoto / Nov 19 2017 9:08 am

    Exquisite works.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Lynz Real Cooking / Nov 21 2017 5:37 am

    Thanks for sharing this Peggy!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sartenada / Nov 22 2017 6:43 pm

    I love art and these are gorgeous. Thank you for showing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 23 2017 7:53 am

      My pleasure. I thought others would enjoy seeing them.


  28. Drop Entry / Nov 23 2017 8:24 pm

    Absolutely love the mongol headdress!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 25 2017 5:34 pm

      I love it too. Coral, turquoise and silver are a fabulous combination.


  29. Agness of Fit Travelling / Nov 23 2017 10:26 pm

    These are so many things to be seen in the Shanghai Museum, Leggy. Thanks for the stunning pictures and the inspiring post! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 25 2017 5:19 pm

      You are most welcome. Really appreciate you stopping by and commenting.


  30. Deb / Nov 24 2017 2:49 pm

    Wow that must have been amazing to see in person…you must have been there for hours. I think my favorite is the second picture…it’s kinda creepy looking but it looks like two squirrels one lying over backwards on top of the other. I love squirrels so it spoke to me. Thanks for sharing all the pics, I can see why you had a hard time deciding!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 25 2017 5:22 pm

      We spent ages there—most of a day. And I could go back tomorrow and spend another whole day. Those two squirrels are actually supposed to be an ox and a tiger (that’s what the plaque said). I prefer your squirrel thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deb / Nov 26 2017 1:32 am

        Wow so much to see it would take a few days to really stop and appreciate each item. Lol…guess my eyesight isn’t what it used to be!! I prefer mine too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Learn Polymer Clay / Nov 28 2017 12:13 am

    These art objects are a feast for the eyes. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. I loved the Mongol headdress of coral and silver. Really amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 28 2017 9:20 am

      You are most welcome. I love the headdress too.


  32. Mithai Mumblezz / Nov 30 2017 11:45 pm

    What a delightful virtual tour! To experience it in person was definitely mesmerising. Loved all of it, I agree very difficult to pick a favourite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 1 2017 8:15 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the tour and, I agree, it is almost impossible to pick a favourite.


  33. Aquileana / Dec 1 2017 8:46 am

    The sculptures at the very beginning are perfect… Great post & thank you for sharing your Museum tour with us… Love & best wishes 😀 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 1 2017 8:19 pm

      This museum is so amazing I had to share. Very glad you enjoyed the post.


  34. jeanleesworld / Dec 5 2017 2:26 am

    I’ve often thought that so many talents, talents like these, have been lost due to technology–not so much the convenience, but because of the distractions. People had TIME to do these things, and there was little else to pull them from learning these skills. Nowadays? I’m lucky if I can get my kids to practice some penmanship. Oh, and I shouldn’t absolve myself–here am I online rather than practicing piano. At least some of this manmade beauty has been preserved. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 5 2017 9:39 pm

      Such a wonderful point, Jean. Most of us don’t seem to have time anymore to do all this creative stuff. But don’t forget that parenting, cooking , blogging and all that other stuff we do are their own kinds of creativity. Just saying.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld / Dec 5 2017 10:19 pm

        Oh yes. I wouldn’t trade what I do here for pottery or whatnot. But I can’t help but wonder what talents remain dormant within little ones because the first thing they learn is how to use a touch screen on an ipad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 6 2017 6:54 am

        Another excellent point. Such a pity that touch screens have become prime entertainment.


  35. mackenziemick / Dec 5 2017 1:32 pm

    wow amazing post!! XO, MK

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Fatma Yiğit / Dec 7 2017 5:47 am

    Can you help me about using PollDaddy?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 8 2017 5:04 pm

      Sorry, but I don’t know anything about Poll Daddy.


  37. Fatma Yiğit / Dec 15 2017 8:07 am

    I want to talk you to improve my english. Is it possible?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 15 2017 10:53 am

      Hello Fatma, how nice of you to stop by. I’m happy to help you with your English. If you have time to read some of the posts on my blog and want to ask questions or leave comments about them, I will always answer. I’ll also let you know if you are making mistakes. Would that help?

      I’ll make another suggestion. Try to watch movies or television programs in your language and also turn on the English subtitles. Watch the same program more than once and every time, pay more attention to the English subtitles than to what is being said in your language.

      Or do the reverse. Watch a program in English and turn on the subtitles in your language. Watch the program more than once and each time try to pay less attention to the subtitles.



  1. Shanghai Museum loaded with style — Where to next? – Smriti Freelancer
  2. Shanghai Museum loaded with style — Where to next? – Fayzur Islam

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