The Shanghai Chinese Imperial Examinations Museum is housed in the side halls of Jiading's Confucius Temple. The displays are interesting, tastefully presented and the English captions are surprisingly well-written. I'd say this is an off-the-beaten-path gem well worth visiting if you have extra time in Shanghai.
The museum is divided into a few different sections. It starts with an introduction about the history of the imperial examinations in China, which lasted for more than 1/3 of China's 5000-year history. The candidates also included foreigners, from where is now modern-day Korea (then the Koguryo, Shilla and Baekje kingdoms), India, Japan and even as far as Europe. On show are various reproductions of artefacts related to the subject, as well as information about renowned scholars in history.
Another side hall explains the various stages of the Chinese imperial examinations. These started with the preiiminary examinations (at county, prefecture and academy level), then the provincial, metropolitan and palace examinations. That's a long way to climb to the top! In the same display hall are reproductions of cheating devices such as inner garments covered with miniscule writing.
Admission is combined with Fahua Pagoda and Confucius Temple, a total of 20 RMB. No student price.
Jiading's Confucius Temple was established in the southern Song dynasty. There're some old Chinese juniper trees in the compound which look rather artistic, and some ancient steles near the entrance.
The main hall houses a big statue of Confucius, and on the roof there're mini statues of Confucius -- my American friend said they were baby Confucius! :)
On the left side of the hall are photos of various Confucius Temples in China (eg Nanjing) and also the Confucius Temple, Confucius Mansions and Confucius Forest in Qufu of Shandong province, the birthplace of Confucius. On display are also various instruments used in the rituals honouring Confucius.
On the right side of the hall are small statues of Confucius and his students.
On either side of the big statue of Confucius are small red stands on which are pinned or tied slips of paper (we also saw tissue or napkins substituted for want of better material) on which were written wishes for better results, or entrance into educational institutions of their fancy. We even found slips written by foreigners, at least one from Australia!
Admission is combined with Fahua Pagoda and the Shanghai Imperial Examinations Museum (inside Confucius Temple), a total of 20 RMB. No student price.
With a history going all the way back to the southern Song dynasty, the 7-storey Fahua Pagoda (also known as Jinsha Pagoda, or Golden Sand Pagoda) is the traditional centre and highest point of Jiading town. It offers a fine view of Jiading: on a weekend I could see plenty of lively family activity in the town square, and to the left were a patch of old-looking houses in traditional Chinese style.
As with most Chinese pagodas, this was a pain (literally) to climb. I'm only about 165 cm tall but the doorways were lower than my height, plus the stairways were winding, steep and very narrow.
In an adjacent building is the small Jiading Museum, which has some information about notable personalities of Jiading.
Admission is combined with Confucius Temple and the Shanghai Imperial Examinations Museum (inside Confucius Temple), a total of 20 RMB. No student price.