Having only opened in 2011, Xiamen's Shinegood Museum (上古文化艺术馆) may be new, but its contents are anything but. This museum on the eastern end of Xiamen island brings together thousands of pieces once held by private collectors into China's largest exhibit of ancient jade. These pieces, which include statues, bowls, musical instruments, masks, and weapons have been preserved in excellent condition, and demonstrate the exquisite craftsmanship of Chinese jade artists, all the remarkable given the fact that they are 3,000 to 6,000 years old!
In today's China jade is revered for its mythical and healing properties; in ancient times it was no different, except that commoners were forbidden to own jade, which was reserved for kings and priests. Shinegood's jade artifacts are divided between elaborate ornaments and daily use articles meant to convey the king's status, and pieces used in religious ceremonies and sacrificial rituals. Adults will marvel at the artistry of these ancient pieces, and the early examples of Chinese writing carved in jade, while children will be fascinated by half-animal, half-gods, and a 3,000-year-old "Chinese mermaid." The impressive historically significant collection justifies the rather expensive ticket price of around 100 RMB. English language interpreters are available upon request. A1-A3 Culture Exhibition Center, Wuyuaynwan 五缘湾文化展览苑A1-A3