Top 5 museums in China

Shaanxi History Museum, photo by AndrewEick on Flickr

Museums are one of the staples of sightseeing everywhere in the world: tourists have been visiting them for as long as museums have existed. Like books, museums might look very similar, but their contents can be wildly different, and each one of them can offer a unique experience to their visitors, and a new perspective into topics that they thought they already knew. For museum enthusiasts, China is an ideal travel destination. There are more museums scattered across this vast country than one can possibly visit in a year, and each one is more interesting than the other. Here are the top 5 museums in China, but they are merely the tip of the iceberg!

Shaanxi History Museum, Xi’an

The ancient city of Xi’an has a well deserved reputation of being the cultural and historical heart of China, thanks to its Terracotta Army and beautiful city wall, but another attraction that will surely interest history buffs is the Shaanxi History Museum, one of the largest and most complex museums in China. The museum looks like the modern version of  a Tang dynasty building, and houses over 300,000 paintings, murals, coins, pottery, etc.

Beijing Capital Museum, Beijing

Beijing Museum, photo by Michael Kan

The Beijing Capital Museum is the premier art museum of China, with a collection of over 200,000 cultural relics, most of them originating in and around Beijing. The Palace Museum in the Forbidden City might get more visitors, but the Capital Museum has no equal in the Chinese art world when it comes to variety. The collections of calligraphy and ancient jade objects are particularly interesting.

Shanghai Museum, Shanghai

Shanghai has many amazing museums, but if you are interested in ancient Chinese art, then you should head to the comprehensive and fascinating Shanghai Museum. Even the design of the museum is quite interesting: it is shaped like a ancient bronze cooking pot called ding. There are over 120,000 exhibits in the museum grouped in collections such as the seals, jades, ceramics, coins or paintings.

Nanjing Museum, Nanjing

Nanjing Museum, photo by lyng883 on Flickr

Nanjing Museum is one of the largest museums in China, built in the thirties in a unique architectural style combining western and Chinese influences. It is one of oldest museums in China as well, and its collection if quite impressive. There are twelves exhibition rooms filled with displays dating back to various points in the history of China, but its highlight is a complete suit of armor made of tiny jade pieces held together with silver wire.

Shandong Provincial Museum, Jinan

All of the over 200,000 artifacts housed in Shandong Provincial Museum are worth a look, but the ultimate starts of the museum are bronze artifacts from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, stone carvings from the Han Dynasty, neolithic Dawenkou and Longshan cultures, and paintings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

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