Suzhou Silk Museum

Suzhou Silk Museum is located in Suzhou City which is well known as the 'Paradise on Earth'. Suzhou, in Jiangsu Province, is not only a famous cultural city and a city of gardens, but also the silk capital of China. During the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, it was the silk producing center; in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties most of the high-grade silk produced for the royal families was made by silk weavers here.

The entire museum design is dignified and elegant - yet unconventional - combining a sense of ancient civilization with modern style. It is divided into eight parts: the Introductory Hall, the Ancient Exhibit Hall, the Silkworm-Rearing Room, the Silk Weaving Workshop, the Vegetable Garden, the Central Hall, the Neoteric (1840-1919) Exhibit Hall, and the Modern (1919-1949) Exhibit Hall. There are also retail stores for purchasing silk.

The dominant color of the Silk Museum is white, which represents the purity of silk. Strolling through the gate here, you can see a long and elegant white wall running from south to north, crossing an east-west passage symbolizing the Silk Road. The wall curves at the entrance, symbolizing the softness and elegance of the silk. In front of the wall, there are three tall sculptures made of white marble. The first shows a girl picking mulberry leaves (the silkworm's favorite food); the second, a girl washing the raw silk fabric; the third, a girl weaving. The three sculptures give the whole museum a dynamic beauty, imparting a sense of freshness to the construction and decoration style. A tower-shaped roof on the main building of the museum reminds people of the exotic flavor of the Silk Road.

Suzhou Silk Museum
The Stone Statue of Leizu
Old Loom
The Old Loom
Silk Fan
Ancient Chinese Silk Fan
Entering the Introductory Hall, the glorious history of silk catches your eyes first. In the center of the hall there is a stone wall on which four Chinese characters are carved. The characters are modeled on the inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century BC). These four characters give a summary of all the exhibits of the Suzhou Silk Museum, namely, silkworms, mulberry leaves and silks. On the left side of the hall, a huge stone fresco vividly describes the evolution and scientific achievements of silk development in ancient China. A statue of a beautiful woman stands close to this fresco. She is dressed in the ancient costume with a cocoon held in both hands. The expression in her eyes seems to tell people that she is thinking deeply. This is the legendary woman in Chinese history and fairytales: Lei Zu, wife of Yellow Emperor (Huangdi) as well as the first person who raised silkworms. On the right side of the wall, a group of large and vivid sculptures depict a camel caravan crossing a vast desert. It is reminiscent of the Silk Road, the road on which the earliest Eastern and Western exchanges took place. Looking up, countless milk-white transparent lights in cocoon-shape remind you of the world of ancient silkworm cultivation.
Model of Silkworm Breading
Model of Silkworm Breeding
Cocoons in Silk Museum
Silkworms' Cocoons
In the Ancient Exhibit Hall, the exhibits present the long history of silk in the form of precious silk relics, models and pictures from its origin in the late period of the Neolithic Age to its production in the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is not exaggerating to say that the exhibits in this hall are a concentrated history of Chinese silk in ancient times.

Everyone knows that silk, silkworms, and the mulberry bush are closely related. The Silkworm-Rearing Room replicates conditions during the late Qing dynasty. You will enjoy the relaxing feeling of a simpler time. Here you will see thousands of silkworms all eating their favorite food, mulberry leaves. It is a memorable experience that will stay in your mind forever.

Walking into the Silk-Weaving Workshop is like entering another world. A variety of ancient looms demonstrate traditional silk weaving technology, and offers you a rare chance to feel the grandeur of the Suzhou silk industry of centuries ago. Weaving girls in ancient costumes demonstrate the working procedures on the spot. They produce various silk products such as cloud brocades, green silk and velvet. You'll be surprised at what you see.

Passing through a gate pass symbolizing Jiayuguan Pass on the ancient Silk Road, you enter the Central Hall. A passage paved by granite extends from the Introductory Hall and connects a stone bridge in the west end of the Central Hall, leading to Yuyangguan Pass, the west gate of the Silk Museum. On one side of the stone bridge hangs a model of the ship once served for Zheng He’s voyage to the west. On the other side, a model of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an, an inevitable pass on the Silk Road, stands in water. The two models respectively represent the overland and maritime Silk Road routes, which combine with each other to unveil ancient civilization to the world.

In the Neoteric (1840-1919) and Modern (1919-1949) Exhibit Halls, you can get an overview of the exquisite craftsmanship of Suzhou silk. You'll see a variety of exhibits featuring silk clothes, silk products that have received international awards, skillful craftsmen, famous people in the silk field, the development of the local silk industry, and the history of the Silk Road.

In the Suzhou Silk Museum you will also find a 'Ming and Qing Street' lined with replicas of time-honored silk stores. Its traditional Suzhou flavor will make a deep and unforgettable impression on you. You can't visit these stores without wanting to buy something!

Whenever you come to Suzhou - the Paradise on Earth - please don't miss the Suzhou Silk Museum. It will not disappoint you!
 

Transportation

1. Take tourist bus no. 4, bus no. 1, 5, 8, 38, 54, 101, 102 or 602 and get off at Pingmen Station.
2. Take bus no. 313 and get off at Beisita Station.
 Suzhou Bus Search
Admission Fee Free of charge
Opening Hours 9:00 - 17:00
Closed on Monday (except public holidays)
* Note: Visitors are not allowed to enter after 16:00.
 

Recommended Nearby Attractions

 Suzhou Museum
 Humble Administrator's Garden
 Lion Grove Garden
- Last modified on Aug. 28, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Suzhou Silk Museum
Asked by Dirk from THE NETHERLANDS | Aug. 25, 2018 01:12Reply
Openings time of Silk Museum
We arrived at the museum at 16:00. The guard did not let us in. He said all museum close at 16:00 in Suzhou?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lora from BELGIUM | Aug. 27, 2018 01:54
00Reply


Yes, the visitors are not allowed to enter after 16:00.
Asked by Ernst Laauser from GERMANY | Aug. 08, 2015 07:44Reply
Suzhou Silk Museum: the museum is actually being renovated. When will it be reopened?
Answers (1)
Answered by Joe from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 08, 2015 22:35
00Reply


As I heard the renovation will be accomplished in the end of 2015, as for the open date, there is no detailed report about it.
Asked by Marilize from SOUTH AFRICA | May. 19, 2015 20:38Reply
Other attractions to visit nearby the Silk museum to fill up the day?
Which classical garden is nearby the museum that we can visit to fill the day on a Saturday? A garden that won't be so overcrowded but classical?
Thanks Marilize
Answers (1)
Answered by Ben from UNITED KINGDOM | May. 20, 2015 22:50
00Reply


You can also visit the Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuozheng Yuan), which is one of the most typical classical gardens. It is about 1.7 miles from the museum, and you can take a taxi to reach there at a cost of CNY12 around. Hope it will not be so crowded, good luck.
Asked by Ms.Lee from MALAYSIA | Feb. 22, 2010 15:59Reply
Hi,
Anyone knows where I can buy genuine 100% pure silk quilt and quilt cover?
Does the Suzhou Silk Museum sell these or is it only for exhibition?
If the museum sell these, should I buy there or at shops in the city?
Thanks.
Answers (2)
Answered by Mr.Albert | Feb. 22, 2010 22:07
20Reply


The Museum sell silk products. You may go there to buy some. Or you can go to some time-honored shops, for example, Qian Tai Xiang (乾泰祥), which is located on Guanqian Street. The prices might be higher but the products are genuine.
Answered by Ms.Lee from MALAYSIA | Mar. 16, 2010 02:55
102Reply


Thanks for the advices.
We just came back from China.
In the end, we went to the silk musuem, New Silk Road shop, DongLing group silk shop, and shopping mall that sells a time-honored silk brand.
All 3 places have their own website.

The silk musuem is quite small. My father grumbled that we shouldn't have paid the RMB 15 entrance fee and waste time here.
But, we(the ladies) did enjoyed some photo-taking at the Silkworm-Rearing Room.
In the end, there is a shop. The products here are a bit dated & old(as in covered with dust & some were even torn & yellowish). We didn't buy anything here as I know we will be going to a much bigger silk shop(the dongling group one).

In the end, we bought the silk quilt in the New Silk Road shop because there was a 20% discount because we were brought there by a taxi driver(they have some kind of arrangement for bringing customers there, i think)...although I am not sure if we bought a genuine product or not.

New Silk Road and the DongLing group's retail prices are very similar.
The time-honored shop in the shopping mall near ShanTang Jie(in front of the water fountain near McD, Pizza Hut, etc) was cheaper by about 100rmb for the quilt i was looking at(also has a branch in GuanQian Street).

Hope this can help the next person.
Asked by Ms.Lee from MALAYSIA | Jan. 15, 2010 06:01Reply
Hi,
May i know is the Suzhou Silk Museum selling the Long Lived brand?
I went to a big silk shop in the city in 2005 following a travel tour
from Malaysia and bought the Long Lived silk.
I remember there is fashion show on the upper floors
and selling clothings too,
the lower floor sells the quilt and silk fabric.
and there is also a big restaurant on one of the floors.

I would like to bring my parents there this year.
I am wondering if this is the same place?
Do you know?

Thanks!
Answers (1)
Answered by Ms.Orange | Jan. 16, 2010 03:14
10Reply


Hi,Ms.Lee
This is a museum, no fashion show but silk exhibition. I guess it is not the same place.
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