Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rainy Sunday: Shanghai Museum 3rd Floor (4/3/2011)

Sunday, April 3, 2011
A rainy, drizzly Sunday is a good day to go the Shanghai Museum. Admission is free, so we can do a section at a time, at our leisure.
We were surprised there was a line waiting to get into the museum (there is an airport-style security check). Waited next to this lion:
These white sculptures represent items within the museum, but we did not see any of these today.
Sago palms have no problems here in Shanghai!
Today we explored the 3rd floor. First Calligraphy, which started 3,000 years ago as bone oracles (written on bones of large animals or on turtle shells):
Bronze inscriptions were found from the Shang Dynasty (16th to 11th century BCE):
In 221 BCE, the Qin Dynasty (when China was first united under one emperor) standardized Chinese characters as they were inscribed on stone steles or tablets:
Chinese script continued to evolve from rounded to square characters, and eventually cursive for quick writing. Calligraphy became an art with individual and artistic styles. The straight lines of characters and uniformity were amazing.
The lighting in the Calligraphy and Painting sections turned on only as visitors approached, to protect the delicate exhibits.
Next Painting, starting with examples from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Most of the paintings had exquisite detail, and most celebrated nature. Landscape paintings can actually be categorized into blue-and-green, gold-and-green, light purple-and-red, and water ink. "Boneless" landscapes are paintings done without outlines. Later free style painting developed using bolder and simpler strokes.
The last section for today was Seals or Chops:
Seals were first used in the Shang Dynasty (16th century BCE) as validation (like a signature) of higher-ranked officials, and were molded in bronze. During the Ming Dynasty, more artistic and ingenious designs developed, and they were made from a variety of materials (different metals or stones, jade, bone, ivory, or ceramics). The knob to hold the seal also became more elaborate.
Maurice Sendak's Wild Thing on the right?
The seals can either be carved in relief (resulting in red characters on a white background) or etched (resulting in white characters on a red background). They can have characters and/or pictures or designs. And they can be made to use multiple surfaces of the seal:
The atrium of the Shanghai Museum:
We had lunch at a sushi bar. They like to give the straw a decorative twist:
We went grocery shopping at Carrefour, which is a French chain that I had used in Switzerland. But this Carrefour is very different!
The frozen meat section has bins of unwrapped parts for you to rummage through and pick what you want:
Unusual (for us) parts, like chicken feet:
Pig's feet:
At least the frozen shrimp had a scoop!
Then there is fresh seafood, like soft-shell turtles and shrimp:
How about some cuttlefish or squid?
Okay, here are lychees, which you have to pick off the branches:
We went for the bulk rice at something like 7 cents a pound!
You can get tea leaves and flower buds (for infusions) in bulk, plus all kinds of nuts, cookies and candies that don't look familiar to us, dried mushrooms and lotus roots, etc. The frozen food section has all kinds of wontons with different fillings, but I still haven't found frozen vegetables! Luckily most things have pictures, but there is much I can't identify.
However, there are a few familiar imported brands, like Coke and Heineken, and Skippy peanut butter. But where is the LaChoy soy sauce?!

No comments: