Suzhou Museum

Suzhou Museum in Suzhou, Zhejiang Province in China, houses ancient Chinese artifacts, which is fitting considering Suzhou is an old city known for traditional and ancient gardens and architecture.

The main entrance on Dongbei Pedestrian Street is located directly next to Zhuo Zheng Garden or The Humble Administrator’s Garden.

Part of the museum is in a traditional Chinese building. The main entrance has the facade of a traditional Chinese building, with a gate in front of the courtyard. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of it, but the common photo of Suzhou Museum like this one below is the modern addition designed by architect I.M Pei. Personally I am not a fan of this design, looks quite alien, serious and sterile, and not quite as artistic, creative and ‘free flowing’ like the artworks inside.

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Exhibitions

This is one of the rooms set out in the layout of a traditional scholar’s roomIMG_3152

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A window looking out into the bamboo gardenIMG_3155

Here’s another one:IMG_3190

You can see the timber beam structures of the roof. Lanterns on the wall provide lighting, and a painting scroll is seen on the table.IMG_3189

A window looking out into the bamboo garden.IMG_3188

Ceramic exhibitsIMG_3159

This is the Lotus Bowl, a special exhibit of the museum. It is in its own special case, with a short video explaining it’s significance.

Melon shaped bowl with lotus leaf coverIMG_3158

Some ceramic vases. Unfortunately I forgot my camera battery that day and these are phone photos, and sometimes crooked.IMG_3160

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This is one of my favourite exhibits in the museum that I was able to see in my short visit.

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As you can see, it is a ceramic bowl, but it is special in that it is made in an open mesh-work style. I am very surprised and impressed by the workmanship, and how well it has been preserved.IMG_3166

These are snuff bottles. The glass ones are painted from the inside using a special brush. The ceramic ones are molded, and the jade ones are carved.IMG_3180

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These are a variety of jade stamps used by government officials in ancient China. These are solid stone carved by hand. The larger the stamp, the more important the department/higher the rank of the official.IMG_3167

This is an ink tray, where ink would be ground and mixed with water, and can be stored for use with the cover.IMG_3169

Facilities
Free wifi is available here. Seated toilets also available. The wheel accessibility is quite good here, the toilets are accessible by strollers and wheelchairs.

Gift shop

The gift shop has a variety of excellent gifts and souvenirs, forget about touristy t-shirts, printed bookmarks or postcards, here you can buy your own ceramic ware, Chinese paintings and calligraphy set.

These are 2 tea pots/vessels, to store dry tea leaves. Due to lack of luggage space, I was not able to buy either, although the colours are amazingly delicate and simple to me and the design is not too modern. The ceramic lids have a silicon ring around it inside for an airtight seal.IMG_3191

Getting here

Address:
For a map, click here.

Chinese: 苏州市东北街204号
English: 204 DongBei (North East) Street, Suzhou City.

The pedestrian street is not accessible to cars but the street is not long, and is mainly spanned by the museum and the garden on one side from the south west side (accessed from Lin Dun Road or Qi Men road). Ask the taxi driver to drop you off at Dong Bei Pedestrian street 东北步行街 ‘Dong Bei bu xing jie’, at the corner of Lin Dun Road 临顿路 or Qi Men Road 齐门路 (these roads are intersected by Dong Bei Road and one becomes the other after the intersection).

The museum is closed on Mondays.

Entry is free.

Recommended stay time:
I came with a group from Shanghai for a day trip and this was just one of the stops, so I only stayed about an hour. But I highly recommend that you stay at least 3 hours because in my 1 hour I only saw a very small sample of things as you can see, and there are a long lines outside (because the museum is free) and only certain numbers of people are let in periodically to avoid large crowds inside. If you want to, you could try and squeeze in both a visit to the museum as well as a visit to The Humble Administrator’s garden on the same day, but you’d have to get there early, and start at the one museum because the line might get long later. The museum would take more time because of the many exhibits (and I assume, since you are going to a museum, you’d like to see things in detail). You can have lunch nearby. The garden is not free.

Official website: www.szmuseum.com/En/Home/Index

Click here for more things to do and see in Suzhou, or if you are ready to come visit China, try these affiliate links (what are affiliate links?)

Flights to China:
Jetradar.com

Accommodation options:
Hotels Combined
Booking.com

Car rental
Jetradar cars

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