Shanghai 2: Propaganda and the Jade Buddha Temple

The Toronto Seoulcialite Shanghai

On Sunday afternoon I meandered through the Jing’an section of Shanghai beginning to enjoy the fact that my phone was useless, I was alone, and all I had was a map to find this little museum.  On a random Shanghai street, in a random apartment complex basement, I finally found the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre.
The Toronto SeoulcialiteThe Toronto Seoulcialite

The Toronto Seoulcialite
I was intrigued by the location, and I have to admit a little scared once I started heading down the stairs.  No photography is permitted inside, but the space was full of posters and information in various languages explaining what we were looking at.  For a place that was kind of tough to find, there was a constant flow of foot traffic!

I found the posters really interesting – this was true, incredible art!  I think it really helped me understand the relationship between Shanghai and Beijing politically, and the effect of propaganda in China.

As I mentioned back from Day 1, Shanghai is a really walk-able city.  At most of the major intersections you’ll see pedestrian overpasses like the one above.  Some of them even have escalators!

The Shanghai Metro is really easy to navigate and is actually a lot less busy than the Busan Metro.  I never felt like anyone was too close to me (or my belongings as I had been warned).

The Jade Buddha Temple was a quick walk from Changshou Road Metro Station.  The directions online said it was a 25 minute walk, but I didn’t feel like it took very long at all.  
The Jade Buddha Temple (Chinese玉佛禅寺pinyinYùfó Chán Sì, literally Jade Buddha Chan Temple) is a Buddhist temple in ShanghaiChina. As with many modern Chinese Buddhist temples, the current temple draws from both the Pure Land andChan traditions of Mahayana Buddhism. It was founded in 1882 with two jade Buddha statues imported to Shanghai fromBurma by sea. These were a sitting Buddha (1.95 meters tall, 3 tonnes), and a smaller reclining Buddha representing the Buddha’s death. The temple now also contains a much larger reclining Buddha made of marble, donated from Singapore, and visitors may mistake this larger sculpture for the original, smaller piece.

I was amazed at how many thing were being sold next to the statues and devotion areas at the temple.  Wasn’t this a place of worship?  Jewelry and postcards didn’t really feel like they belonged here. 

The way this light was shining at the temple in the afternoon was incredible.  I had read that you should go very early in the morning to avoid crowds but the Temple wasn’t that busy.  I was able to spend some time listening to the monks chant, wander through the grounds, and take in the atmosphere in the dark room upstairs where the sitting Buddha statue was located.  Having seen so many temples already I almost skipped this one.  That would have been a big mistake!  Definitely make the trip out to the Jade Buddha Temple…maybe even on a Sunday afternoon.

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