Our last two days of the tour were spent in Shanghai. On Thursday morning, we visited the Shanghai Museum, a well-known museum of ancient Chinese art. The building itself is designed in the shape of an ancient bronze cooking vessel called a ding and is quite interesting to look at. Once inside, we headed first to the painting gallery. Since Huajing is an art historian with expertise in Chinese painting, she gave us a detailed, informative lecture on key works and artists. Further exploration took members of the group to galleries on ceramics, traditional furniture, bronzes and more.
After lunch we visited the Yu Garden (Yu Yuan) in the Old Town section of Shanghai. This beautiful garden, which includes ponds, halls and pavilions, dragon walls, and rock formations, was owned by a single family whose patriarch was an official in the Ming court. Construction was begun in 1559 and took 20 years to reach completion. Though we battled crowds to get to the garden, we understood why the name Yu Yuan (meaning "peace and comfort") was chosen for this tranquil refuge.
The rest of the day included the shops of Old Town, our final banquet dinner, and a trip to the top of the Pearl Tower for a night view of the city. At the banquet we celebrated Anne F.'s birthday and toasted each other for such a memorable and life-changing trip. What an amazing group of educators. Though we are all ready to get back to our lives with our families and friends, it was difficult to see the trip come to an end. We will definitely maintain the friendships and connections that we have built over the last two weeks and support each other as we consider ways to bring our experiences in China back to our classrooms.
Photos: 1) Shanghai Museum, 2) Yu Garden, 3) Pearl Tower, 4) the group