Great museums of China – museums in Beijing

Beijing-yonghg004I considered Beijing a bit different from the other big cities as regards, museums. About those we can find there, it’s rather  the whole buildings and bigger objects among them than the contents behind windows as artifacts which are really important, so I’ll show you a few details of them as well as a relatively small number of exhibits.

I start with the most important Buddhist temple outside Tibet, Yong He Gong, as my favourite place, which is not so overcrowded as the ‘Forbidden City’ that everybody wants to see. The buildings are no less interesting and the artifacts on exhibition are also very beautiful. This place is very well worth the visit even with a short stay in Beijing. A remark – most of the haze often veiling the view is attributed to the smoke of the ubiquitous insence bourners.Beijing-yonghg164_6499Beijing-yonghg164_6486Beijing-yonghg165_6508Beijing-yonghg165_6509Beijing-yonghg165_6510Beijing-yonghg165_6511Beijing-yonghg165_6517Beijing-yonghg165_6502Beijing-yonghg164_6495Beijing-yonghg165_6519153_5314Of course, we must visit Gu Gong, the so-called “Forbidden City”, a sprawling complex, which is even then almost always crowded. One wonders how it has come about that just as much as the crowds demanded the departure and death of all the Dynasty in the first decades of the 20th century, so much do they express their awe at visiting the place from the end of the same century. A good alternative to a visit with the throngs in the hot summer is one on bright days of the winter if possible, but even then, expect big crowds at times, like this. But what we find there is worth it. If we can get to see things, that is. One must be real patient sometimes.

Beijing_gugong132Beijing_gugong130Beijing_gugong119153_5319153_5324153_5330153_5339153_5340153_5350153_5356153_5357153_5358153_5362153_5363153_5367153_5368153_5369153_5373153_5374153_5375153_5376153_5378153_5379153_5383153_5384153_5386153_5387153_5390153_5395

After those crowds, the peace and quiet of the Confutian temple could be a real refreshment. Not many of the usual stuff, the place rather has a huge collection of old carved stones and unusual black-and-white scrolls and painting form ancient times. Enjoyment is not strictly restricted to those who can read Chinese script.

Beijing-confucian05 Beijing-confucian06 Beijing-confucian09 Beijing-confucian11 Beijing-confucian12 Beijing-confucian13 Beijing-confucian14 Beijing-confucian15

Though the standing stones may stone most.

Beijing-confucian17Beijing-confucian10

A tour of Beijing cannot be complete without a short visit to Tian Tan, the ‘Temple of Heaven’, which is, in spite of the greatness of any other place around, has become the symbol of the Northern Capital. Though I only have old photos about it, it is worth having a look at the end of this post.

Beijing-Tiantan002aBeijing-Tiantan005

Besides these places, there are lots of other good museums in this metropolis, like the science museum, the Mao Mausoleum, the Geological Museum, the National Museum of China, or the Art Museum, but I didn’t have so much time in the city, my preferences lay with those seen above. You would really have to live there to see everything.

by P. S.

Great museums of China – Shaanxi museum, Xi’An

P1000658Much further up North from Shanghai, Xi’An is famous for the relatively newly discovered ‘Terracotta Warriors”, though they can be found well outside the city itself. I may later show a few photos of them too, but now I’d like to concentrate on the main museum of the province to be found in the centre of the city proper. This museum may be considered a bit more defined by artifacts from the province around it than in the case of Shanghai, but it doesn’t take anything away from the quality on exhibition. It should not be surprising, however, that the objects often resemble those in Shanghai very much, though a number of them are actually older.

P1000656P1000655P1000654P1000653P1000652P1000659P1000660P1000661P1000668P1000669P1000670P1000671P1000672P1000673P1000677P1000678P1000679P1000681P1000685P1000686P1000687P1000688P1000689P1000690P1000691P1000692P1000693

by P. S. and S. Z.J.

 

Great museums of China – Shanghai city museum

107_0701In my series showing some of the great museums in China, I start with the Museum of Shanghai, which stands in the middle of the city on Renmin square. Inside, one can find artifacts spanning thousands of years, religions from the oldest Chinese beliefs through Taoism to Buddhism and religious and secular objects of minorities of China, and artifacts from calligraphy through paintings and carvings to everyday clothing and furniture. Most of the objects have been found in South-East China, but there are a lot from far inland as well. One of the best museums I’ve visited, spanning a very wide spectrum of history and geography superseding almost all else in the country. However, do not expect such a vast collection impossible to take in within a few days found in the Louvre, or the Hermitage and the like. This is not a collection of art collected or bought from all over the world, this, like other Chinese museums, contain only works of art from within China, and that also mostly from one larger region. But it is very well worth the day for a small amount as entrance fee.

Mythological figures standing alongside the entrance to the Shanghai Museum

Mythological figures standing alongside the entrance to the Shanghai Museum

107_0746107_0747107_0754107_0749107_0753 107_0755 107_0757107_0759 107_0760107_0761107_0764 107_0767107_0769107_0770107_0771107_0772107_0774107_0776107_0781107_0777107_0782107_0783

Headrest

Headrest

107_0787 107_0789 107_0790 107_0792 107_0793107_0794 107_0795 107_0796107_0798 107_0799 108_0802 108_0804108_0805108_0807

An ancient signet

An ancient signet

108_0812108_0814108_0813 108_0815 108_0816 Again mainstream ancient Chinese, but this time, jade objects. 108_0822 108_0823 108_0825 Furniture 108_0827 108_0828 108_0829 108_0830108_0832108_0833

Ancient coins

Ancient coins

by P. S.