The museum (of ancient Chinese art) was founded in 1952; the present building was begun in 1993. It is 29.5 meters high with five floors, covering a total area of 39,200 m2. Designed by local architect Xing Tonghe, the museum building is designed in the shape of an ancient bronze cooking vessel called a ding. It is said that the inspiration for the design was specifically provided by the Da Ke Ding, now on exhibit in the museum. The building has a round top and a square base, symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as 'round sky, square earth'.