Located on the northeast street, Suzhou, Suzhou museum is a local historical art museum. Built in 1960, the museum sits on the very site of the Residence of Zhongwang (Li Xiucheng, a leading general of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom). The current museum built in 2006 was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese American architect I.M. Pei. The designation of the current museum adopts the traditional architectural style and lay the museum in gardens and courtyards. So it is a soothing contrast of water, bamboo and straight lines in a stunning geometric interpretation of a Suzhou garden.
Facing the south, Suzhou Museum is divided into three areas: central area, east area and west area. The east and west areas, covering an area of 3,600 square meters and having 32 exhibiting halls, display a fascinating array of jade, ceramics, wooden carvings, textiles and other articles (dating from primitive times). The central area is made up of the entrance, the main hall and a garden.
The basic exhibition reflecting Suzhou culture and customs contains Wu Pagodas, Wu Treasures, Wu Elegance, Wu Paintings and Calligraphy. Wu Pagodas contain two iconic Buddhism pagodas – Ruiguang Pagoda and Huqiu Pagoda. Wu Treasures prominently exhibit jade, ceramics, bronze wares unearthed in Suzhou area. Suzhou Paintings and Calligraphy displays the calligraphies and paintings of famous literati from ancient China.
Suzhou Museum is very closed to the Humble Administrator’s Garden and Lion’s Grove Garden, so you can consider to visit museum after visiting these two gardens.
By the way, draconian entry rules apply: flip-flops wearers get turned away. The museum is free to visit but there are limited ‘tickets’ each day so if you are foreign tourists, you can visit it during weekdays.
Opening Time: 9:00-17:00 (from Tuesday to Sunday)
Suggested Visiting Hour: 2 hours
Address: 204, Dongbei Jie, Pingjiang District
Admission: free (audioguide: RMB 30)