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 the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom which tried to overthrow the Qing Dynasty in the mid-19 century).
The current museum built in 2006 was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei. The current museum offers 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 reflects Suzhou culture and customs and contains Wu Pagodas, Wu Treasures, Wu Elegance, Wu Paintings and Calligraphy. Wu Pagodas include two iconic Buddhist pagodas: Ruiguang Pagoda and Huqiu Pagoda. Wu Treasures prominently displays artifacts such as jade, ceramics, and bronze wares unearthed in the Suzhou area. Suzhou Paintings and Calligraphy contains the calligraphy and paintings of famous literati from ancient China.
Suzhou Museum is near the Humble Administrator’s Garden and Lion’s Grove Garden, so you can consider strolling over to the museum after visiting these two gardens.
By the way, draconian entry rules apply: those wearing flip-flops are likely to be turned away. The museum is free to visit but there are limited ‘tickets’ each day so if you are a foreign tourist, you can visit 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)