[Travel] Suzhou, a Poetry in Sight and Senses

After our visit to Tongli, Intan (a friend from my Chinese class) and I, end up going to Suzhou (苏州; Sūzhōu) for a day before going back to Shanghai. From Tongli, we arrive at Suzhou Car North Station in the morning then take the take the 游5路南线,  Tour (bus) 5 Road South Line to Linder rd and walk to our first stop.

Suzhou Museum of Opera and Theatre or China Kun Qu Museum (苏州戏曲博物馆), One of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO, opened in 1986. The southern Kun Qu opera in Suzhou went back from the Ming and Qing dynasty (14th to 17th century) with the officials and wealthy merchants wanting a refine entertainment. The entrance is free of charge.

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The entrance of the museum with a Kun Qu actor. Not sure who he is or if he represents someone

Kun Qu opera performed in an officials gathering  by the rich merchants in the built in pavilion.

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The museum’s stage.

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An Assembled Stage for Kun Qu performance, Baohe Tang (from The White Snake Legend in Hanzhou). The stage is from the Qing dynasty, and made of 179 pieces of poplar wood and 112 carved decorations.

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Opera script

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A duster pipe belonged to the Kun Qu actor, Zhang Jiqing (张继青)

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Lu Bu (奉先), a warlord, and Diaochan (貂蝉) costume for A Small Banquet famous from the story of The Three Kingdoms.

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A scene from The Palace of Enternal Life; Emperor Ming of Tang (明皇) and his Imperial Consort, Lady Yang (杨玉环).

From the museum we walk around the old town, along 800 years old pedestrian street, Pingjian Rd (平江路) to see the water canals. Suzhou is one of the city considered as “the Venice of Asia”. There are hundreds of water canals and lovely boat ride. Wish we can spend another day to just walk along the road or try one of the boat.

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As per recommendation by Mr. Chang(?) whom joined us for lunch, we tried a hot and cold dishes from various vegetables and fruits for autumn meal. Hmm kinda weird either sweet and savory, it’s like tea time, not lunch.

After lunch we just walk along and sight seeing the old-houses-turn-museum, stores and restaurant/tea houses scattered around the block.

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Huxiangshi Bridge (胡相思桥), the only stone arch bridge from the Song Dynasty in this road.

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There are some photo sessions going on in this historical street. The mix of old and new and the artistic creativity looks fun. Who would thought a female army uniform with a tutu and a pair of snickers?

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A Chinese ancient soldier with a guitar.

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We continue walking leisurely and see some modern buildings with Chinese accents.

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We pass by North Temple Beisi-ta Pagoda (北寺塔)

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We arrive at Suzhou Silk Museum to see, at least, the exhibition on how the Chinese harvest the silk and weave it into cloth. Read in separate post here.

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Silk in Chinese fashion throughout history

Our last stop in the afternoon is the The Humble Administrator’s Garden (拙政园, Zhuō Zhèng Yuán). Suzhou is famous for the garden landscape and considered as UNESCO heritage. The classic garden is one of the four must seen garden. It was built in Ming Dynasty style in 1509. Wang Xian Chen, an official at that time, got fed up with work and retired to build a garden and lead a humble and simple life. Hence the name. The garden inspired by nature, the trees and life from the mountains to the water and land, and in turn inspired paintings, drawings, poems and stories (even now, I’m blogging and taking photographs). Entry 70 RMB.

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The thing about Suzhou gardens are how every inch of the garden is like you’re looking at a photogenic-poetry-inspired scenery. Every where you look is gorgeous! In some windows and entrance, they framed the scenery nicely and often I thought, Yes, that should do nicely when I take a photograph.”

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I love how this pavilion is looking out the pond with lotus. Must be wonderful to see it bloom in the summer

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Love this framing to the garden before opening to another scene. A round gate way is often considered beautiful moon shaped and bring good luck.

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Bonsai garden

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Western garden. A lot of people love to take photos in the middle of these flowers.

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It’s a picturesque scene to end the end before we get back to Shanghai.

My 2 days Tongli Suzhou – Tongli trip as followed: Tongli – Day 1, China Sex Museum, Day 2  and Suzhou – Suzhou and Silk Museum.

Source: Kunqu Opera Society, Travel Suzhou, Travel China Guide

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