Why is Suzhou Museum special
Founded in 1960, Suzhou Museum has been a highly-regarded regional museum with a number of significant Chinese cultural relics. The entire museum covers over 26500 square meters.
A new building designed by famous Chinese-American architect Leoh Ming Pei was completed in October 2006, located at the cross of Dongbei Street and Qimen Road. The new building houses over 30000 cultural relics - most notably for excavated artifacts, Ming and Qing Dynasty paintings and calligraphy, and ancient arts and crafts.
The main theme of all exhibits is centered on Wu Dynasty. Because acting as the center of Wu Region (12 Century – 473 BC), Suzhou has been shining like a resplendent pearl inlaid into the vast land on the south bank of Yangtze River.
Suzhou Museum Highlights
The exhibits of Suzhou Museum have 4 themes: Wu Pagodas, Wu Treasures, Wu Elegance and Wu Paintings and Calligraphy. Under each category, there are sub categories.
Wu Pagodas includes Hu Qiu Pagoda Relics and Rui Guang Pagoda Relics. In Hu Qiu Pagoda Relics, the most extraordinary find was a lotus-flower-shaped cup and saucer whose high level of craftsmanship and color makes it an excellent example of early celadon ware. This relic has since been designated a National Treasure. While in Rui Guang Pagoda Relics, the special importance is the discovery of the spectacular Pearl Pillar of the Buddhist Shrine and the wood container that housed the relic. The box, vividly painted with broad brushstrokes of realistic images of the Heavenly Guardians, and the Pearl Pillar, with its intricate wood and jade carvings, gold and silver gilding and strings of pearls, reflect the best craftsmanship of the Northern Song period. Due to their historical value and exquisite execution, the Pearl Pillar and its wooden case are now designated National Treasures.
“National Treasures in Famous Wu Pagodas” prominently exhibit Buddhism relics found in Yunyan Temple Pagoda on top of Tiger Hill and Ruiguang Temple Pagoda near Panmen Gate, both regarded as symbols of Suzhou. Three sub categories are under this theme: Neolithic Pottery and Jades; The Splendid Jiangnan Region; Spring and Autumn Period Bronze
During the coming exhibitions, handicraft relics will be on display, which were admired as “unique skill from Wu Region” by Zhang Dai from Hangzhou at the end of Ming Dynasty and referred as “fashionable curio” by Shen Defu from Jiaxing because they were indispensible to the literati at that time to enjoy graceful and leisurely life. Perhaps it is more authentic and visual to let them face the visitors and narrate the history and release the memory. Six categories are under this theme: Ming Scholars Study, Jades, Bamboo Wood & Ivory Carvings, Scholars Collectibles, Textiles, and Folk Figures.
Wu Paintings and Calligraphy
Under this theme, the Elegance of Wu Arts & Crafts is displayed. This exhibition displays artifacts and relics from the Ming and Qing Dynasties associated with the lifestyle and literary and artistic achievements of the extraordinary Suzhou literati. The objects include porcelain, jade, wood and ivory carvings, furniture and clothing collected and admired by the cognoscenti, as well as the utensils and accessories they used in the pursuit of their artistic pursuits. These artifacts exemplify the best of the Wu Style which made a significant contribution to the cultural heritage of China whose effects can still be felt.
Address: No.204 Donbei Streeet, Suzhou
Opening hours: Tue to Sun 9:00—17:00（last entry on 16:00）, closed on Mon