A museum featuring the erotic art in ancient China, the first of its kind in the country with the largest varieties of exhibits, will move from Shanghai to a small town 80 kilometers away from the city.
The museum was founded by Liu Dalin, one of the pioneering sexologists in modern China. He and his colleagues collected the expensive exhibits for many years. The museum stands out above all the entities of its kind in China. It has even earned acclaim from the world, with 70 percent of its audience from overseas.
The museum holds more than 3,000 exhibits, and 20 of them date back more than 5,000 years. The exhibits caused quite a stir in Hong Kong and Taiwan when they were displayed there. Some people called the exhibition "a first for Chinese people in 5,000 years."
Despite the prominence it gained, the museum was having a difficult time in Shanghai. With its inauguration in 1999, the museum was put in a commercial building in the pedestrian street of the Nanjing Road, with its maintenance fee sponsored by a State-owned company. Obviously this is an ideal location for the museum, for it is the busiest area in Shanghai.
Unfortunately, however, the authorities did not allow the museum to put out a sign, because the sign would have characters related to sex. The authorities said that it was upholding a national regulation that no advertisements are allowed for sex products.
"But a museum of sex culture is completely different from sex products. The country has no law or regulations prohibiting a sex culture museum having a sign. You're allowed to do it when there're no written laws prohibiting it," said Liu.
Since the museum failed to make ends meet, the company cut off its sponsorship.
Therefore, the museum was forced to move to a different location in Shanghai in 2001. The area had little commercial activities and didn't attract people. But the museum had to pay 40,000 yuan (US$4,838.51) a month in rent and miscellaneous fees, which were not covered by its sale of tickets and souvenirs.
Since its earliest days, the museum has been applying to the Shanghai tourism authorities to be named one of the designated attractions for travel agencies. But the efforts have failed. Liu attributed it to the conservative mentality of some of the officials.
An agreement has been signed between the museum and the small town called Tongli in August, and the museum will move there in April 2004.
(Shenzhen Daily September 2, 2003)