In my day trip to Suzhou (read here for the complete entry), Intan and I visit the Suzhou Silk Museum to see, at least, the exhibition on how the Chinese harvest the silk and weave it into cloth. The entrance is free of charge.

Silk in Suzhou, China, is known since the Tang and Song dynasties in the 4th BC. The area become “The Three Weaving Bureaus” in South Yangtze river and at its height in Ming and Qing dynasties.

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Statue of Leizu (嫘祖) / Xi Lingshi (西陵氏) wife of the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi (黄帝)

She’s credited for the begining of silk weaving with the first loom and silk sericature or silk farming.

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Silk trade from East to West via the famous “Silk Road”

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Beating up Par from Hemdu, Zhejiang

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Silk Tabby from Shang Dynasty, escavated from the tomb of Fuhao, Anyang, Henan.

Tools from Neolithic ruins (4000 B.C) in Hemdu, Zhejiang province and silks relics from Qiangsanyang ruins (2700 BC) in Wuxing, Zhejiang province, tell a story about silk already developed for 6000 years.

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Image from Wikipedia

A clay replica of the famous painting from Tang Dynasty, Zang Xuan‘s (張萱) “Court Ladies Preparing Newly Woven Silk.”

In the Silkworm reading room, a replicate of scenes for silk cultivation during the late Qing dynasty.

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In the Silk weaving workshop, several looms in traditional silk weaving is on display. Several people are also working in a production or two. Mostly women, but there are a guy or two.
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Harvesting the silk from the worm

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Spinning the treads into a ready for weaving batch

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The ancient weaving tool. It’s larger than I expected.

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The patterns in geometric and nature inspired

In exhibition hall, some showcase of Sui, Tang, and the Five dynasties silk and clothing. In Song dynasty, silk production spread along the 3 famous centers, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu. Gold and Silver is also famous incorporated to the pattern in Yuan Dynasty. Silk fabric become Suzhou’s main trade at its highest peak in Ming and Qing dynasties and was used by the Imperial at that time. They varied between brocade, satin and velvet.

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Samite with birds and floral medallion pattern from Tang Dynasty, excavated from Astana, Xinjiang.

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Silk Tapestry with birds and flowers on purple ground, pattern from 11th- 12th century

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Male robe of satin damask with eight Buddhist emblems on swastika ground (1368 — 1644 AD) and Satin Boots (1368 — 1644 AD) excavated from Wu county, Suzhou, Jianshu.

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Silk Quilt with woven sutra motifs (1644 — 1911 AD)

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Embroidery Dragon robe(1644 — 1911 AD)

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Silk skirt embroidery with flowers (1644 — 1911 AD) and A woman’s Jacket with embroidery crane rounder motifs (1644 — 1911 AD).

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Coat with dragon brocade and embroidery  (1644 — 1911 AD)

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Kesi, Silk tapestry, with Magu figure (1644 — 1911 AD)

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Weaving license  issued by the Government  (1644 — 1911 AD)

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Chinese fashion throughout history

From the museum, we go to our next destination.

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

Source: Wikipedia, Travel China Guide