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Suzhou Museum Introduction


suzhou museum
The Long Wall of Suzhou Museum

Suzhou museum is a typical regional art museum highlighted with the exhibition of history and culture of Suzhou, which used to be the center of Jiangnan, or east China. Officially opened in 1960 and newly-built in Oct. 2006, Suzhou Museum is situated on Dongbei Street. The designer is Bei Lvming(贝律铭), also widely known I.M. Pei,an internationally famous master architect. The base of museum used to be the Mansion of Li Xiucheng(李秀成, 1823-1864), crowned the King of Loyalty in Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, an anti-Qing government founded by rebels in late period of Qing Dynasty. With a total area of more than 8,000 square meters, the museum is artistically separated into three sectors, respectively the east part, west part and the middle part. The middle area features a hall building with a great and exquisite decoration with a local color drawing in Suzhou. At the side gate of the entrance, there is a wisteria, said to be planted by Wen Zhengming (文徵明, 1470-1559), a great soul of Suzhou culture. The east side of the inside, it is the outdoor performance stage of period of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Also the middle sector includes the entrance, main hall and the garden of museum. The west sector is the exhibition zone, and the east sector is the modern art gallery, also has the drinking service, reception service and the education service. Just for its special historic significance, the architecture itself of Suzhou Museum is a key site under the state-level protection.

The Artistic Highlights of Suzhou Museum

The Portrait of I.M.Pei in Suzhou

The displaying area of the museum is over 2200 square meters with more than 15,000 pieces of collections, most of which is mainly featured of the ancient masterpieces of calligraphy and painting, porcelains, handicrafts and excavated antiques. Among the thousands of collections, 240 pieces listed to be the first-rate collections, and 1147 ranked the second rate. Furthermore, there are more than 70,000 volumes of books and files, and over 20, 000 tablet inscriptions and rubbing books.

The collection of calligraphy and painting is the highlights of Suzhou Museum, and the time extends from Song Dynasty to Ming and Qing periods. The chief quintessential works as below:

The famous works in Song Dynasty include moon-shaped fan with Xia Kou’s famous themed painting – Qiantang Guanchao Tu(钱塘观潮图, the Painting of Viewing the Qiantang Tide), Songxia Shangyue Tu(松下赏月图, Appreciating the Moon Under the Pine Trees) an unidentified painting without any painters’ handwritings, a vertically-hung scroll named Wuwang Xichun Tu(五王嬉春图, Five Kings Playing in Spring).

The famous painting and calligraphy in Yuan and Ming Dynasties include Qijunzitu(七君子图, painting of seven gentlemen), also known as six master’ink wash bamboos painting scroll of Zhao Tainyu, Ke Jiusi, Zhao Yuan, Gu Dingzhi, Zhang Shen and Wuzhen, and this works is donated by descendants of Gu Dukun(顾笃琨), the owner of Guoyun Private Library(过云楼), which is famous private library in Jiangnan region for its special book collection; the Scroll of the Preface to Orchid Pavilion written by Zhao Mengfu(赵孟頫) living in Yuan Dynasty, Wang Meng’s Zhushitu(竹石图, the painting of bamboo and rock) of Yuan Dynasty; Wang Shigu’s Scroll of Water Bamboo and Tranquil Living in Qing Dynasty, the excellent works of Shen Zhou, Wen Zhengming, Tang Ying and Zhu Yunming(吴门四家, Four Masters of Suzhou in Ming Dynasty).

The famous works in Qing Dynasty include the great masterpieces of Shi Tao and Zhu Da, the outstanding works of Siwang Wuyun(四王吴恽, six most famous painters of early Qing Dynasty: Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, Wang Hui, Wang Yuanqi, Wu Li and Yun Shouping), as well as the great works of Eight Eccentric Painters in Yangzhou in middle and later period of Qing Dynasty.

Besides, there are more than 70 handwritten fans inscribed by Zhuang Yuan(状元, the first place winner in the imperial examination) from Suzhou, and half of them living in Qing Dynasty, and their fan inscription vividly expresses the characteristics of local culture. And there are some valuable documents and files of Li Xiucheng in Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, also some handwriting of Sun Yat-sen, Huang Xing, Zou Rong and Zhang Taiyan.

The Architecture of Suzhou Museum The Architecture of Suzhou Museum
The Figurines of Suzhou Museum The Buddhist Sutra in Suzhou Museum

The bronze wares of pre-Qin period include many sacred utensils that the aristocrats used in Wu State from the period of Spring and Autumn to the period of Warring States. The jade wares extend from Shang period to Qing period.

The preserved porcelains include celadon lotus bowl made of Yue Kiln in Five Dynasty Period, the porcelain-made pillow and the calyx base and flower calyx disk. The unearthed antiques include the black lacquer-drew pottery themed with Liangzhu culture excavated from Wujiang, the Buddhist scripts and sutras discovered in Huqiu Pagoda and Ruiguang Pagoda, the lacquer-painted sutra box, silk embroidery, and some Buddhist’s sacred collections. As well as the embroidery works like 12 animal zodiacs and Ji Gong portrait of Shen Shou(沈寿), a embroidering master, as well as the ink masterpieces of Cheng Fengdi(程风地), a great ink maker in Qing Dynasty. All of these belong to the handicrafts.

There are also some themed exhibitions available regularly such as the painting exhibition of Ming and Qing Dynasties, the exhibition of fan-type calligraphy and painting of Zhuang Yuan over the past dynasties, the silk embroidery exhibition of Qing Dynasty, ancient handicraft exhibition, the collected porcelain exhibition and display of Suzhou Kunqu Opera.

The service time: 9:00-17:00 from Tuesday to Sunday, and closed on Monday.
The address: Dongbei Street 204, Suzhou
The exit and entrance: the new hall of museum is the entrance and the gate of Zhongwang Mansion is the exit.  


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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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