Museum of Ancient Pottery Civilisation 古陶文明博物馆

Part of A Better Guide to Beijing’s coverage of South of Qián Mén

In a single large downstairs room an excellent collection of clay seals from the Qīn dynasty onwards, many of them famous in China, are displayed alongside sample impressions.

Among the seals there’s one belonging to the supervisor of the Père David’s Deer pasturage (see Mílù Yuàn).

Various ornate roof tiles with similar themes are grouped together, and there are tomb figures, painted pottery, and other ceramics with detailed introductions and background information in English. There’s also well-written contextual information on various topics, such as the eunuch system, imperial granaries, and chariot driving.

This was one of China’s first private museums, which may account for the excellent English, the good lighting, and the generally friendly atmosphere. It’s run by potters with a kiln nearby, and the foyer shop has samples of their work, some of which you can see being prepared, as well as gift items decorated imaginatively with impressions from the ancient seals.

Gǔ Táo Wénmíng Bówùguǎn, Cài Yuán Xī Jiē 12, t 6353 8811,, 9am–4.30pm, closed Mon and public holidays. ¥50. m Táorán Tíng (Line 4). b to大观园西门: 56, 423.

The museum is a short walk down the alley running along the north side of the Grand View Garden. There are teahouses in the same street, and a theatre with opera and kung-fu performances behind the museum (see Entertainment, Culture, and Nightlife).

Next in South of Qián Mén: Yuán Chónghuàn Ancestral Temple and Tomb
Previous: Grand View Garden
Main Index of A Better Guide to Beijing.

For discussion of China travel, see The Oriental-List.