Shanghai Museum

The museum has over 120,000 pieces of ancient chinese art and is arranged in line with Feng Shui principles,

TravelCurious Tip

The collection is too big for one trip. Pick a couple of sections, whether they’re calligraphy, jades or bronzes, and really give them the time they deserve

Given China’s rich 5000 year history, it should really have better museums than it does — but the Shanghai Museum is one of its best. Found on the People’s Square, it is full of ancient Chinese art. The founding collection came mainly from confiscations by the Communist army and items sold by private collectors to the government due to political pressure during the purges. But in spite of its origins, it’s a collection you can’t miss.

The building is unmistakeable: it resembles an ancient Chinese ding vessel, with a round dome atop a square base that symbolises the ancient idea of a round heaven and a square land. Within it, the collection contains over 120,000 pieces. These include bronze works, lacquer furniture, ceramics, calligraphy, sculptures and precious jade carvings. The problems with lighting, curating and comically bad translations that dog other Chinese museums will not be found here: the Shanghai Museum is exemplary, by all standards.

Some of the museum’s pieces are national treasures. For example, it holds one of only three examples of a “transparent” bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty. But its two most precious works are an ancient cooking vessel emblazoned with a dragon pattern of the Shang Dynasty and an extravagantly free cursive style calligraphy work of The Red Cliff Ode.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Shanghai
People's Square
This spectacular space in the heart of the city is a hub of activity.
Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar
Visit the garden then get lost in the bustling bazaar where vendors sell their wares in hidden lanes.
The Bund
As the city's stand out landmark, this remarkable waterfront is perfect for strolling and people-watching.
Heavenly Light Lane
Learn more about Shanghai's history here on the first street to have public electronic light in the city.
Grey Gardens
Also known as 'The Secluded Library', these enchanting gardens were built for the Lu family in 1763.
Anren Street
Stroll through the few remaining laneway houses and see traditional community living that is fast disappearing.

Related Tours

Private Full Day Tour of Shanghai
Known as the ‘Paris of the Orient’, Shanghai is steeped in culture, history and glamour in equal measure. Get to the heart of this fascinating city in our best of Shanghai full day tour.

  • Commence your tour at the iconic Jade Buddha Temple 
  • Take in your tranquil surroundings by People's Square 
  • Venture through Shanghai Old Town, and get lost in Yuyuan Garden 
  • Visit the revered Old City of God Temple 
  • Learn about Shanghai in the 21st century, at Tianzifang
  • Walk along the picturesque Bund 
  • Enjoy a ferry ride across the Huangpu River to the futuristic Pudong on the east
Temple, Museum and The Square

Your day begins at the famous Jade Buddha Temple, home to a priceless collection of jade statues. The temple is designed in the breathtaking architectural style of the Song Dynasty and is the base of the Shanghai Buddhist Institute. Continue on to People’s Square. This beautiful green spacer is a hub of daily activity, and you will be surrounded by other well-known attractions, such as the great Shanghai Museum. 

Old Shanghai

Your adventure moves on to Shanghai Old Town and the enchanting Yuyuan Garden. You will see the old style buildings of the Ming and Qing Dynasty and have the chance to stop and try delicious local delicacies recommended by your guide. You will also visit the revered  Old City of God Temple and learn about its statues in Taoism.

Shanghai Today

Move on from the traditional and learn more about Shanghai’s present as you head down to the exciting Tianzifang - the ‘Soho of Shanghai’. Then walk along the most famous landmark, the Bund. From this beautiful waterfront, enjoy a perfect end to your day as you take a ferry ride across the Huangpu River to the futuristic Pudong on the east. 


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