The museum is at Xicheng District, 西城区复兴门外大街16号 16 Outer Fuxingmen Street; admission is free but you need to reserve a ticket by calling 010.6339.3339 or online (need to register first). My first attempt failed because I missed the 4pm last-entry time (the museum opens 9-5 Tuesday-Sunday). When I made a date with Auntie Sun and Fu, we decided to meet there, also because Auntie Sun volunteers on Wednesdays.
首都博物馆 is all about Beijing. Auntie Sun took us to her jade section and begin explaining various precious objects. The layout and display of the floor is very inviting plus her vivid narrating, very soon I found a small group of museum goers, mostly youth began following us and they eagerly pestered her with questions. Few of them even followed her outside: see the two kids below. They’re high schoolers from Henan.
She’s retired engineering professor from Qinghua University who also extended her career at Macau University for few more years after her retirement. I found her narrating fascinating and enjoyable.
This wine cup 夔凤纹子刚款玉卮 (kuí fèng wén zi gāng kuǎn yù zhī) is THE exhibit of the museum: height 10.5 cm with a caliber 6.8 cm, made of 新疆和田青白玉 by the famous jade carving master 陆子刚 Lu Zigang in Ming Dynasty. Apparently, many types of treasures from the ancient times bear the artist’s inscription except jade. Because of his unique skill, Lu Zigang always carved his name onto the piece he made, even risking irate the emperor. Lu was from Suzhou, one of three locales known for jade carving, Beijing and Yangzhou were the other two.
If you couldn’t make it to Beijing to listen to her, then Ren Zhihong 任志宏’s National Treasure Files 国宝档案 of CCTV is the next best thing.