Sunday, January 20, 2013

Half day tour of Shanghai

The Lambs had a very busy Saturday morning.  We took a tour of the city, with an English speaking guide

Shanghai Cultural Museum
We saw traditional clothing worn by all the different ethnic & regional cultures.  An entire wing of Jade sculpture, gold figures, hand-carved wood furniture and panels. I thought the most interesting was a room depicting the evolution of the Chinese monetary system.  Our guide explained how coin minting was created, and how it evolved into the origin of paper money.

necklace of coral and turquoise 

hand-carved wood and lacquer chair of 9 dragons
hand-carved wood cabinet
Pearl Factory and Showroom
We were given a demonstration of pearl harvesting.  A guide asked Katie to select a fresh water oyster from a tank.  She explained that the fresh water oysters were seeded, but there was no telling how many pearls if any were inside until it was opened.  We watched as she opened the oyster, and were happy to see a pearl!  She then opened a small sea oyster that was 3 years old.  This oyster also had a pearl.  She showed us the difference in appearance, and explained that the sea pearls sometimes were different shades depending on the mineral content of the water.  She also said that pearls that were harvested, but irregular shaped, were ground down and made into face cream! 

Jade Buddha Temple
When entering the courtyard of the Temple, the incense smell is very strong and it is very crowded.  Chinese Lunar New Year will begin in a few weeks, and many people come to the temple to burn incense, and leave offerings for good fortune in the year ahead.  They leave sweets and oranges, and pray to the huge golden Buddhas.  The Jade Buddha is on an upper floor, and we were not allowed to take pictures in that room.  It is a large White Jade Buddha, all carved from a single stone.  Really beautiful and very impressive.  All throughout the temple, there are statues of animals that guard the temple.  If you leave a coin in the mouth of the statue, you can make a wish and it will be granted.  There is a Koi pond that is overflowing with fish.  The fish actually came up to girls to be fed and petted.


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