How is Suzhou Museum Designed?
Suzhou Museum (苏州博物馆), designed by the universally well-known American-Chinese architect Mr. Ieoh Ming Pei (贝聿铭), has its new museum completed in 2006 and becomes very famous over the world since its opening. Because I. M. Pei lived in Suzhou during his childhood, many typical traditional elements of Suzhou gardens and Jiangnan can be appreciated from the simple but elegant appearance to the distinct environment in the halls. Covering a wide area of 10,700 s. q. m, just beside the Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou Museum enjoys over 40,000 historical and cultural relics exhibiting to the public, including jade, ceramics, bronze, stone, ivory, etc. among which the ceramics, paintings, calligraphies, and handicrafts are large in number and at high standards. Catch the chance to see the “Little Daughter” of Mr. Pei and learn history and culture of Wu Region (吴) in ancient China.
Suzhou Museum is a highlight in Suzhou and is frequently visited by tourists. Below are some recommended Suzhou tour packages with Suzhou Museum:
Layout of Suzhou Museum
Suzhou Museum is generally in the outlook of the traditional Chinese style with white walls and black tiles, looking harmonious and elegant among the surrounding ancient buildings. But for more visual effect and functions, Mr. Pei meticulously designed the museum with very nice lines and modern charm with the traditional elements. Moreover, in Suzhou Museum, you can be surprised to find the typical Suzhou garden elements, and even a lovely and tranquil water garden in there, which is nearly the unique design among other museums.
In the main 3 parts of Suzhou Museum, the West Wing is formed with 3 floors, with the first floor being the basic exhibition area and the second floor as well as the basement 1 being the temporary exhibiting places. The central part consists of the entrance, hall and the garden that you can find through the glass wall. And in the east, there are modern art gallery, tea house, etc. with path linked to the Prince Zhong’s Mansion.
Excellent Exhibits in Suzhou Museum
Within the exhibiting area of about 3,600 s. q. m, Suzhou Museum has over 1,160 pieces of cultural relics from the remote ancient times, Ming and Qing dynasties to the modern time on show. Therefore, it is a good opportunity to admire these precious objects and learn the culture, history and art of Wu Kingdom, ancient Suzhou and the whole China.
As one of the proud exhibiting series in Suzhou Museum, ceramics are terrifically of high standard. Olive Green Lotus-Shaped Bowl (越窑秘色青瓷莲花碗) (907-960 AD), a fine ware from the Five Dynasties, was found in the third floor of Yunyansi Pagoda (云岩寺塔) on the Tiger Hill, appearing very lovely like a blooming lotus flower. And for its good technique of using olive green, this bowl is one of the most precious collections of Suzhou Museum. Furthermore, you can see a Purple Clay Washer (紫砂干果洗) in a lifelike style with a walnut, peanut, litchi, and other nuts being the holder and feet of the ware. Besides, the Blue-and-White Plate with Flowers and Fruits Pattern (青花折枝花果纹大盘) (1426-1435 AD) as well as the Globular Shape Vase with peaches (青花釉里红桃子天球大瓶) (1636-1911 AD) are of high skills and flowing lines. Go to see more various shapes of ceramic relics to know more about this city.
You shall not miss the outstanding handicrafts in Suzhou Museum, since they will renew your present memory of the Chinese handicrafts. The Pearl Pillar of the Buddhist Shrine (真珠舍利宝幢) is a very precious Buddhist artwork found in the Ruiguangsi Pagoda (瑞光寺塔) in Panmen Scenic Area (盘门景区). Made about one thousand years ago, this creation of 122.6 cm high is shining with many expensive materials like gold, silver, crystal, pearls, jade, etc. which demonstrates the very high level of making art works of the ancient Wu people in Suzhou. Besides, Ruyi-Scepter Inlaid with Nephrite Ornaments (白玉三镶如意) (1644-1911 AD) from Qing dynasty consists of three graceful jades with beautiful carvings on the long handle and is regarded as a gem. Apart from that, a precious Jade Cong (玉琮) (3300-2200 BC) has 12 levels and stands for the high standard of making jade ware in the Liangzhu Culture (良渚文化) and the brilliant history of that period. Also, there are many diverse shapes of brush pots in Suzhou Museum, among which, the Eaglewood Brush Pot with Fishing Patterns (沉香木雕刻渔钓图笔筒) (1644-1911) of 11.5 cm high has plants much bigger than figures but superb carving technique everywhere. Besides, there are other interesting and excellent handicrafts like the Blue-and White Figure-Design Bowl in Openwork (青花人物镂孔大碗), Gold Coronet (女金冠) (1271-1368 AD), Flower-Shaped Cup (粉彩绿里花型盃), and so forth.
Calligraphies & Paintings
Calligraphic and painting collections are another shining point of Suzhou Museum. On the rare Scroll of Seven Bamboo Paintings (七君子图) from the Yuan Dynasty, seven bamboo works from the six famous bamboo painters in that period perfectly present under the artist’s brush. Furthermore, you can stroll in the halls to appreciate more excellent paintings to know better about the painting art in China.
Suzhou Museum has a series of high-level bronze wares on display, so you can walk in the halls to enjoy these wares and understand the great skill of bronze making in ancient Wu region. You can find a great number of bronze wine wares, wine cups, bowls, cooking vessels, etc. with very magnificent patterns on the wares, and those are mainly the representative items from the ancient Wu kingdom.
Folk Branch of Suzhou Museum
In Suzhou Museum, there is a special hall for showing the folk art collections, where you can appreciate many interesting and lovely items and scenes of the daily life, official’s court, ancient figures and so on in ancient Suzhou.
Tranquil Inner Garden of Suzhou Museum
Walking out from the exhibiting area, you can find a new different land, which is the super terrific garden in Suzhou Museum. Here Mr. Pei designed it with the traditional elements in gardens in Suzhou, like pool, pavilion, rockery, bridge, bamboo forest, etc., but using specially great technique to present the most beautiful image of Suzhou Museum, making it a poetic place of sightseeing and breathing.
Prince Zhong’s Mansion
Prince Zhong’s Mansion, or Zhong Wang Fu’s Restoration (忠王府), is between the Humble Administrator’s Garden and Suzhou Museum, and you can get there after visiting the inner garden in the museum. Built during 1860 and 1863 by Li Xiucheng who is the Prince Zhong in the period of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (太平天国), this mansion is the perfect building of that time preserved in China. You can step in to admire the colorful paintings on the walls, pillars, beams, etc. the ancient opera stage, precious old furniture, cultural relics and so forth, and feel the history of that time.
Recommended Route to Visit Suzhou Museum
Enter Suzhou Museum and appreciate the precious cultural relics from remote times on the first floor, then go to the second floor and the basement 1 to admire the excellent temporary exhibitions. After that, go back to the first floor and exit from the exhibiting area to enjoy the great scenery of the inner garden. Finally, see the paintings and other precious relics in the Prince Zhong’s Mansion in the east. (For about 1-2 hours)
Location of Suzhou Museum & How to Get There
Suzhou Museum is situated in No. 204, Dongbei Street, Suzhou City. It is in Suzhou downtown, within walk's distance to the southwest of the Humble Administrator’s Garden, so it is very easy to find this place. You can get there by bus, bicycle, subway, taxi, rickshaw, etc.
- From Humble Administrator's Garden – 5 minutes' walk
- From Tiger Hill – 15 minutes' drive
- From Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory – 20 minutes' drive
- From Shantang Street - 13 minutes' drive
Travel with China Discovery (Top Recommended):
If you want to get rid of the hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Suzhou Museum with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing. Contact us now >
Opening Information of Suzhou Museum
Opening Hour: 9:00-17:00 (Tuesday - Sunday); no entering after 16:00; Closed on Monday (Excluding national holidays)
For the maximum of 900 visitors permission every time, visitors are required to queue in a line and have the security check before visiting Suzhou Museum.
Services in Suzhou Museum
Chinese-speaking Guide: CNY 100-300 for 60-80 min (maximum of 30 people / group)
English-speaking Guide: CNY 200-600 for 60-80 min (maximum of 30 people / group)
Video hall with comfortable seats is on the basement to show the introduction of Suzhou Museum, its collections, I. M. Pei & Suzhou Museum, etc.
(09:15-10:15, 11:00-12:00, 13:15-14:15, 15:15-16:15)
Clothes can be put in the cloak-room, where umbrellas and wheel chairs are provided for free within the museum;
Barrier-free facilities, Wi-Fi, restaurants, tea house, guest center, toilets, medicine cabinet, etc. are available here.
Useful Tips to Visit Suzhou Museum
1. Suzhou Museum implements real-name online reservation policy during different time periods, which enables only 3 visitors (including accompanies) for each one registration ID every day. 600 visitors are allowed every hour of a visiting day (maximum visitors of 4,200 of a day), therefore, it is highly suggested to make a reservation 1-7 days in advance. Please contact us if you have any questions or needs.
2. Since Suzhou Museum is very popular among visitors, there usually is a long queue at the entrance, but people move on very fast. To avoid the long-time queuing, it is recommended to arrive at Suzhou Museum early in the morning, about before 10:00 a.m.;
3. Temperature in Suzhou Museum keeps at 20℃ all year round, so dress suitably;
4. Suzhou Museum’s official account is available in WeChat (Weixin in Chinese,微信). If you understand or can read Chinese, you can follow it and type the number of the displayed artwork to get the text or audio interpretation.
5. There are frequent temporary exhibitions from other places in China and other countries and regions held in the basement. If you are interested in seeing more excellent relics, you can spend more time enjoying it;
6. You can take pictures in most galleries, but do not use flashlight in order to protect the relics, and look out while photographing;
7. Food and colored drinks are not allowed to bring in.
How to Plan Your Travel in Suzhou
How to Get to Suzhou: You can easily get to Suzhou by high speed train from Shanghai (about 0.5 hour), Hangzhou (about 1.5 hours), Nanjing (about 1 hour), Beijing (about 4.5 hours), etc.
Best Time to Visit Suzhou: April to October, especially April and May in spring and September and October in autumn
Generally, a classic Suzhou tour takes about 1~2 days. Visiting Suzhou, you can't miss elegant Suzhou gardens, like Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering Garden, Master of the Nets Garden, etc. You can choose one or two of them for a great garden delight. Other must-be-visited sights in Suzhou City include Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory from which you can watch the process of silk making from silkworms to elegant products, Tiger Hill which is known as the first sight in Suzhou, Suzhou Museum which is designed by I. M. Pei and Suzhou's old canalside roads (like Pingjaing Road and Shantang Street), etc. If you like Jiangnan watertowns, you can visit Tongli, Zhouzhuang or Luzhi to have a wonderful time.
If you want to explore more about Jiangsu Province, you can travel to Nanjing - the old capital city of 6 ancient dynasties, Wuxi - a beautiful lakeshore city, Yangzhou - old culture center of southern China, etc. Check more about Jiangsu Tours>
☛ 5 Days Jiangsu Tour (Suzhou, Wuxi & Nanjing)
In fact, most people travel Suzhou with Shanghai - the best gateway city to Suzhou, and Hangzhou which has long been on a par with Suzhou since ancient times. Generally, it needs 2~3 days enjoying Shanghai's highlights and another 2~3 days appreciating the poetic beauty. Check more about Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou Tours>
Get Inspired by Real Travel Stories of Our Customers
Since 2012, we have helped numerous customers visit Suzhou and surroundings. With our fully-inclusive private tour packages, all of our customers enjoyed their trips to the exquisite gardens, peaceful watertowns, informative silk factory or museum, old Suzhou streets, etc. Some of them kindly shared their precious photos and stories about their Suzhou journey, just get inspired now.
"We were lucky for being able to watch Chinese dancers at the Lingering Garden at the time of visit…" - shared by Nguyen (Check her The Pursuit of Natural Beauty with the Beloved one - 14 Days Beautiful China Exploring Tour>)
"Suzhou was the real treat at the end of the trip! Everything about Suzhou was perfect…" - shared by Elizabeth from Britain (Check her Long-lasting Memory brought by First Trip to China - 16 Days well-Organized and Wonderful First Visit to China>
Besides the wonderful travel stories, many customers who visited Suzhou with China Discovery also send us their first-hand feedbacks about their trip, feel free to read the Suzhou Reviews and learn what they say about their experience. If you want to start your Suzhou tour now, don't hesitate to contact us.
- Suzhou City Tours
- Shanghai Suzhou Tours
- Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou Tours
- Hangzhou Suzhou Tours
- Yangtze Delta Tours
- Humble Administrator’s Garden
- Lingering Garden
- Tiger Hill
- Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory
- Zhouzhuang Water Town
- Tongli Water Town
- Master of the Nets Garden
- Lion Grove Garden
- Suzhou Grand Canal
- Shantang Street
- Pingjiang Road
- Suzhou Silk Museum
- Hanshan Temple
- Luzhi Water Town
- Classical Gardens of Suzhou
- Kunqu Opera
- Things to do & Top Attractions
- Get There & Around
- Weather & Seasons
- Suzhou Maps
- Suzhou Metro
- How to Plan A Suzhou Tour
- More Suzhou Travel Guide
Suzhou Travel Guide
More about Jiangsu Travel Guide
Recommended Suzhou Tours
Top 3 Suzhou tours chosen by most customers to explore Suzhou in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Suzhou / Wuxi / Nanjing
Hangzhou / Suzhou
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