Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We Do the ADHD Tour of the Shanghai Museum

Ready to start with the China pictures? In the interest of getting these posted as quickly as possible, we haven't edited any photos other than shrinking them a bit to make them easier to upload on here. We'll have to take the time to edit them all before I start printing them off for a scrapbook.

So let's get started! First off, we flew out of Okinawa and had a layover in Hong Kong. Not a real long one, but enough to get a bit of food (Ben & Jerry's, very Hong Kong-y don't you think?) and get some of the HK coins which have ruffly edges. And I forgot to take a picture of those, but I kept a couple so I'll have to do that later. So here's the view Lee got as we flew into Hong Kong:

Totally love the dragon on the wing, don't you? We didn't arrive in Shanghai until about midnight, and we were met by our first guide, whose English name is Jessica. She and the driver took us out to our hotel which was really, really, REALLY nice but we didn't take pictures of it until later and I'm sharing pictures in chronological order so I'll just talk about the hotel again later. So anyway, on the 6th, our first real day in China, we started off our day with a tour of the Shanghai Museum.

There's Bennet and Missy in the atrium of the museum. I also like the golden dragons on the stairs...I'm sure there's a real name for that bit of a staircase but I can't think what it is right now. Here he is closer up:

And here's a look down towards the atrium from the third or fourth floor, just to give you an idea how pretty this place is:

Problem: it's 4 floors and has thousands of pieces on display, and we had like an hour? Maybe an hour and a half. So we looked at the map, picked the exhibits that sounded the most interesting to us (calligraphy, painting, furniture, and jade) and then proceeded to run through those as if we all had ADHD so we could see as much as possible.

We spent the most time in the calligraphy exhibit because that was the first one we went into, and then we really rushed through the other ones. I liked the calligraphy one though, it was neat to see the different styles. Some had hundreds of tiny characters all arranged in neat rows, some looked like the artist had ADHD and forgot what he was saying midstream, and some looked almost Egyptian. We didn't take a whole lot of pictures in the museum though since it's pretty dark in there.

They had all kinds of different paintings, some black and white and some color, but the most popular subjects seemed to be flowers, bamboo, and landscapes. The museum had information on the artists for most, if not all, of the paintings and the calligraphy, and the thing that struck me is how long their lifespans were. Many of the pieces on display were made in the 1300s or 1400s, and the artists were often in their 70s when they created them. That's a heck of a lot better than Europe was doing at the same period of time.

It should surprise none of you that I really liked the Ming furniture exhibit. I just always like looking at furniture :)

And this stuff was totally amazing. Such intricate carving to decorate every possible surface, and all of it done by hand.

Yeah, I so wanted to take some of the furniture home, but it wouldn't fit in my suitcase. Ha! The last exhibit we saw was the jade exhibit, and this was my favorite piece (and the only one I took a picture of, too, since we were out of time):

I took a picture of the information card for this one too, and it said that this was in the Hindustani style where it has inlaid jewels on very thin jade. They had all kinds of things made out of jade, like belt buckles and swords and tons of dragons and such, very pretty. All different colors too, not just green. I'll show you more jade in my next post so this is just a teaser.

And here we all are out in front of the museum. The little blue Gumby dude is the mascot of the World Expo that is in Shanghai right now, and had only been open since May 1. We would have liked to go see some of it, but Jessica told us that the wait to see a single pavilion was up to 6 hours, so we just didn't have the time. But we saw lots of blue Gumbys :)

Just a few of the many, many skyscrapers in Shanghai. The whole city seemed very shiny and new; Jessica told us that they had torn down quite a few old factories and buildings to make room for the expo, and they're going to tear down 90% of it later this year when the expo is over. Kind of crazy. All this shiny newness made it feel like it could be a big city anywhere, not necessarily China...I think Tokyo is that way too; once the city gets to a certain size it seems to lose its individuality I think. An interesting introduction to China, at any rate, and quite a contrast to some of the other places we visited.


CCsMom said...

Yay! China pictures! Now I have to leave because Dad is very upset that I took his spot at the computer this morning. Very upset. Love you!

CCsMom said...

Look at the ShiShi dogs behind you at that museum. Was going to ask if you saw a lot of those there. We got lost on the way to Adam's awards dinner that one night and this very large two-story house had a very impressive pair standing guard on either side of the front door. They were about 3' tall. So cool! Anyway, looking for more China pix!