Poly Art Museum

Museum in Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central

This small but exquisite museum displays a glorious array of ancient bronzes from the Shang and Zhou dynasties, a magnificent high-water mark for bronze production. Check out the intricate scaling on the ‘Zūn vessel in the shape of a Phoenix' (倗季凤鸟尊) or the ‘Yǒu with Divine Faces’ (神面卣), with its elephant head on the side of the vessel. The detailed animist patterns on the Gangbo You (棡柏卣) are similarly vivid and fascinating.

In an attached room are four of the Western-styled 12 bronze animals plundered during the sacking of the Old Summer Palace, which have been acquired by the museum: pig, monkey, tiger and ox. The last room is populated with a wonderful collection of standing Bodhisattva statues, dating from the Northern Qi, Northern Wei and Tang dynasties.