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Masterpiece Journey
MASTERPIECES WHICH CANNOT BE MISSED
2 hours
Undoubtedly, it is a big place with too many objects. No problem. Here is our guided tour in minute detail.

Shanghai Museum is one of China's most famous museums of ancient art. It has a collection of various types of 140,000 pieces of precious cultural relics, ten categories of which are on display. These cultural relics are carefully selected by our experts for your appreciation and your visit. Due to the large number of cultural relics on display, and the limited visiting time, you must be quite concerned about how to appreciate some of the best works in each gallery during your tour. This is a catalogue of cultural relics of special significance. They are remarkable for their craftsmanship and appearance. We hope you can enjoy the best works of ancient Chinese art history through this tour, and come to love and care more about our Museum.

3F
Chinese Calligraphy Gallery

  
 
  • 1
    Xia Shang Zhou
    Date: Late Shang (13th - 11th century BC)
    Dimensions: Length 32 cm, Width 21 cm
    Material: Bone
    Introduction
    Ox scapula inscriptions are the written records of the sacrificial activities of the Shang dynasty. The whole piece of oracle bone is basically intact with the complete inscriptions. It is the first part of a complete set of inscribed oracle bones. The inscriptions are records of the kings worshipping their ancestors and nature gods, praying for a good harvest by sacrificing sheep and cattle.
    Oracle is the most ancient Chinese character font known so far, notable for its simplicity and dignity.
  • 2
    Song
    Artist: Su Shi
    Date: Northern Song (AD 960-1127)
    Dimensions: Length 31.5 cm, Width 121.7 cm
    Material: Ink on paper 
    Introduction
    Su Shi (1037-1101) was a famous writer and calligrapher in the Northern Song dynasty.
    Written in the 2nd year of Yuanyou (AD 1087), this work was the oration jointly signed by Su Shi and his brother Su Zhe in honour of their friend Huang Jidao. With a proper combination and natural variation of light and heavy strokes, the work conveys a respectful and endearing mood between the lines, showing profound literary accomplishment and excellent writing skills of the greatest writer and calligrapher of a generation.
    Funeral Oration In Memory of Huang Jidao has been in the collections of many people. Many of them left prefaces and postscripts on the scroll, such as Dong Qichang, Da Chongguang and so on.
  • 3
    Ming
    Artist: Zhu Yunming
    Date: Ming (AD 1368-1644)
    Dimensions: Length 30.8 cm, Width 925.5 cm
    Material: Ink on paper 
    Donated by Qi Shuyu
    Introduction
    Zhu Yunming (1460-1527) was a famous calligrapher in the Ming dynasty. This scroll is an impromptu study of peonies blossoming in the garden, featuring skilful and masterly strokes, wild and romantic style, and varying and rhythmic lines, fully demonstrating the abstract beauty of Chinese calligraphy.

3F
Chinese Painting Gallery

  
 
  • 1
    Song
    Artist: Yanyan Nüshi
    Date: Song (AD 960-1279)
    Dimensions: Length 32.5 cm, Width 333.5 cm
    Material: Ink and colour on silk
    Introduction
    Yanyan, active during the period between the Northern and Southern Song dynasties, was the concubine of Ren Yi, the nephew of Song Di, a well-known Northern Song painter. She is noted for her color paintings of landscape, flowers and birds.
  • 2
    Liao Jin Yuan
    Artist: Wang Mian
    Date: Yuan (AD 1271-1368)
    Dimensions: Height 67.7 cm, Width 25.9 cm
    Material: Ink wash on paper
    Introduction
    Wang Mian (1287-1359), also known by his zi (designated name) Yuanzhang and his hao (literary name) Kuaiji Shannong, was a native of Zhuji, Zhejiang province. He was adept in ink painting of plum blossoms. This scroll was completed in 1355 when he was 69 years old.
  • 3
    Liao Jin Yuan
    Artist: Wu Zhen
    Date: Yuan (AD 1271-1368)
    Year: the 10th year of Zhizheng reign period of Yuan (AD 1350), when the author was aged 71.
    Dimensions: Length 36 cm, Width 539.3 cm
    Material: Ink on paper
    Introduction
    Wu Zhen (1280-1354), also known by his zi (designated name) Zhonggui and his hao (literary name) Meihua Daoren, was a native of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. As one of the “Four Painting Masters of the Yuan Dynasty”, he was expert at depicting landscapes with ink washes and also skillful in painting bamboo and rocks. This work was completed in 1350 when he was 71 years old.
  • 4
    Ming
    Artist: Lin Liang
    Date: Ming (AD 1368-1644)
    Dimensions: Height 152.3 cm, Width 77.2 cm
    Material: Ink and colour on silk
    Introduction
    Lin Liang (ca. 1416-ca. 1480), also known by his zi (designated name) Yishan, was a native of Nanhai (present-day Guangdong province). He was appointed as an imperial painter working in the Ming imperial inner court during the period of emperor’s reign-title of Tianshun (1457-1464), and very famous for his flower and bird painting in both free and realistic styles.
  • 5
    Ming
    Artist: Tang Yin (1470-1523)

    Date: Ming (AD 1368-1644)

    Dimensions: Height 77.1 cm, Width 39.3 cm

    Material: Ink on paper
    Introduction
    Tang Yin (1470-1523), one of the “Four Ming-Dynasty Artists”, was also known by his zis (designated names) Bohu and Ziwei, and his hao (literary name) Liuru Jushi. A native of Suzhou of Jiangsu Province, the artist was especially good at painting themes such as landscapes, figures, and birds and flowers. He learned the art of painting from both Shen Zhou and Zhou Chen.
  • 6
    Ming
    Artist: Wang Lü

    Date: Ming (AD 1368-1644)

    Dimensions: Length 34.7 cm, Width 50.6 cm

    Material: Ink and colour on paper
    Introduction
    Wang Lü (1332-after 1384) is also known by his zi (designated name) Andao and his hao (literary names) Jisou and Baodu Laoren. A native of Kunshan, Jiangsu province, Wang Lü was famous for landscape painting. These album leaves were completed by Wang Lü at the age of fifty-three, when he was deeply moved after visiting Huashan in Shanxi province in the seventeenth year of the Hongwu Reign (1384). This is his sole extant painting.
  • 7
    Ming
    Artist: Xu Wei
    Date: Ming (AD 1368-1644)
    Dimensions: Length 138.7 cm, Width 37.1 cm
    Material: Ink on paper
    Introduction
    Xu Wei (1521-1593) is also known by his zi (designated name) Wenchang and his hao (literary name) Tianchi, and Qingteng in his later years. A native of Shanyin (present-day Shaoxing, Zhejiang province), Xu Wei was adept in painting landscapes, figures, flowers, birds, insects and fish with simple strokes. Xu Wei introduced a new style of monochrome ink Xieyi (free style) painting.
  • 8
    Ming
    Artist: Dong Qichang
    Date: Ming (AD 1368-1644)
    Year: the 32th year of Wanli reign period of Ming (AD 1604), when the author was aged 50.
    Dimensions: Length 30.5 cm, Width 156.4 cm
    Material: Ink and colour on silk
    Introduction
    Dong Qichang (1555-1636), also known by his zi (designated name) Xuanzai and his hao (literary name) Xiangguang, was a native of Huating (present-day Songjiang, Shanghai). He is famous for his landscape painting with exquisite ink washes and delicate strokes. This work was completed in 1604 when he was 50 years old.
  • 9
    Qing
    Artist: Jiang Tingxi
    Date: Qing (AD 1644-1911)
    Dimensions: Length 91.5 cm, Width 42 cm
    Material: Ink and colour on silk
    Introduction
    Jiang Tingxi (1667-1732), also known by his zi (designated names) Yangsun and Youjun and his hao (literary names) Xigu, Nansha and Qingtong Jushi, was a native of Changshu, Jiangsu province. He was skilled at both calligraphy and painting, and loved to do sketches from life and sometimes paintings of branches, orchids and bamboo.
  • 10
    Qing
    Artist: Xugu
    Date: Qing (AD 1644-1911)
    Year: the 2nd year of Guangxu reign period of Qing (AD 1876), when the author was aged 54.
    Dimensions: Length 18.9 cm, Width 25.4 cm
    Material: Ink and colour on paper
    Introduction
    Xugu (1823-1896) was Zhu Huairen’s Buddhist name. A native of Shexian from Anhui Province, he moved to stay in Guangling (now Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province), and often travelled to Shanghai and Suzhou. He was good at painting various themes including flowers and fruits, birds and fishes, and landscapes as well. This work was dated the 2nd year of Kangxi Reign (1876) when the artist was fifty-four.

3F
Chinese Seal Gallery

  
 
  • 1
    Xia Shang Zhou
    Date: Warring States (475-221 BC)
    Dimensions: Length 2.3 cm, Width 2.3 cm, Height 1.9 cm
    Material: Jade
    Introduction
    Official seals in the Warring States Period had reflected the ranking system by using different materials. In the states of Qi, Zhao, Wei and Han, the emperors and lords began to use jade to make their official seals. This jade seal created in Zhao, Wei and Han states was the official seal granted to the Lord Chun’an, which indicated that jade seals had become a new symbol of social status.
  • 2
    Qin Han
    Date: Western Han (206 BC - AD 8)
    Dimensions: Length 2.35 cm, Width 2.35 cm, Height 2 cm
    Material: Silver
    Introduction
    The Qin and Han official seals were established with strict hierarchy marks. Different seal knobs and seal materials represented different social ranks, varying from the Son of Heaven to subordinate officials. This silver seal with turtle-shaped knob was the official seal awarded to ‘the great general Guanghan’ in the late Western Han dynasty. The shape and structure of the turtle-shaped knob imply the art of being a minister - to retire after success.
  • 3
    Qin Han
    Date: Western Han (206 BC - AD 8)
    Size: Length 3.25 cm, Width 3.4 cm
    Material: Black Clay
    Introduction
    One of the early uses of seals was to affix to the sealing clay to prevent illicit opening by others when bamboo and wood slips, or other materials, were delivered. This clay impression is a Western Han dynasty relic. The owner of the seal was the Vassal King Liu Pijiang of Hejian, who was enfeoffed in the early Han dynasty.
  • 4
    Qing
    Artist: Zhao Zhiqian
    Date: Qing (AD 1644-1911)
    Dimensions: Length 3.4 cm, Width 7.3 cm, Height 4.8 cm
    Material: Stone
    Introduction
    Zhao Zhiqian was a versatile man of the late Qing dynasty, noted for painting, calligraphy and seal carving. His seal with inscription Ci Lan Tang was commissioned by Pan Zuyin, the Minister of Works. Pan named his building Ci Lan Tang (House of the Awarded Orchid Brush) for being granted by Empress Dowager Cixi with the Orchid Brush. This seal is decorated with vigorous double dragons. The seal script followed the style of calligraphy style of Deng Shiru, showing free and dynamic momentum.
  • 5
    Modern
    Artist: Hu Jue
    Date: Modern
    Dimensions: Length 4.1 cm, Width 4.25 cm, Height 7.1 cm
    Material: Stone
    Introduction
    Hu Jue's seal carving has a sparse and natural layout and quiet temperament. This seal is one of his masterpieces. It is engraved with the full text of the 324 words of Preface to the Orchid Pavilion with carving on the sides, and on the top of the seal stone is inscribed with Wu Cheng's painting of Lanting Winding Stream, which not only increases the multifaceted elements of the seal, but also demonstrates the author's versatile art accomplishment.
  • Introduction
    Chinese seal materials are full of varieties, including metal, bone, jade, bamboo and pyrophyllite. Before the Ming dynasty, seals were made for practical purposes, and generally were made of copper, jade and ivory. Most were made of copper, hence came ‘the age of copper seals’. After the Ming dynasty, with the rise of literati seal carving, stone seal materials cheap in price, soft in texture and easy to carve, were introduced to the field of seal carving and became the main material, forming ‘the age of stones seals’ in the development of seal history. The main material used for stone seal carving in the Ming and Qing dynasties was pyrophyllite. This kind of material with a soft and delicate texture, and a rich and mild lustre, is highly expressive on engraving with high ornamental value and is the preferred material for carving seals. Qingtian Stone, Shoushan Stone and Changhua Stone are among the most prestigious ones.
    The seal knob, also known as seal nose, is the part to tie with or to pinch by hand. The knobs prior to the Qin dynasty were more practical, such as nose knob, pillar knob and knob with hook. Some of them also showed decorative taste, such as pavilion knob, animal knob, and figure knob. By the Qin and Han dynasties, the turtle-shaped and nose knob became quite common. The official seals in the Sui and Tang dynasties and Northern Song and Southern Song dynasties usually had the simple and practical nose knobs, wooden knobs, and small stake knobs. But after the Song and Yuan dynasties, with the revival of private seals, the knob making also developed into some new forms, with the appearance of a variety of animal, figure shapes. Ming and Qing dynasties marked the heyday of the art of seal knobs. With the rise of carved stone seals and development of literary seal carving, people began to pay more attention to the ornamental value of the knobs, from the court to the common, thus promoting the prosperity of seal knobs production in terms of themes, techniques, and styles.