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Shanghai sometimes gets dismissed as a shallow city, a vortex of shopping, snacking and spending, but rewarding cultural explorations do exist in China's commercial center. |
Here are six of Shanghai's best museums to add to your travel itinerary, from a comprehensive state-run establishment to a hidden-in-the-basement private institute.
1. Shanghai Museum (上海博物馆)
Visitors might be tempted to avoid the Shanghai Museum, the city’s most official temple to Chinese culture. For starters, it’s ugly -- the 1990s construction on People’s Square looks like a massive bathroom sink.
Get over that first impression and you’ll find treasures inside.
One highlight is the ceramics collection and its Tang Dynasty (618-907) tomb guardians, including a ferocious beast that seems part dragon, tiger, horse and goat.
The museum houses galleries for paintings, ancient bronzes, jade sculptures and calligraphy.
Upstairs is an arresting parade of embroidered costumes crafted by the country’s ethnic minorities, as well as painted Tibetan ceremonial masks covered with skulls and feathers.
Admission is free, so you can hit only the galleries that interest you without feeling compelled to spend hours getting your money’s worth.
Shanghai Museum, 201 Renmin Da Dao, near Huangpi Bei Lu
人民大道201号, 近黄陂北路, +86 21 6372 3500, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., entry: free, www.shanghaimuseum.net