Brief Introduction about China National Silk Museum

Newly reopened in July 2016, China National Silk Museum (short for CNSM), located at the south side of West Lake, is not only the first state-level specialized silk museum in China, but also the largest silk museum in the world at present.

China National Silk Museum displays about 5000 years silk history and culture which is regarded as an educational and amazing window for travelers to have a better understanding about Chinese silk and the Silk Road and have a new respect and appreciation for Chinese and Western silk art and fashion.

Besides, China National Silk Museum has very elegant environment – graceful architectures stretching on the green grasslands, different kinds of flowers blooming, water gurgling, birds singing...bringing you a fresh and comfortable visit while learn about the silk creation.

China National Silk Museum Silkworm Reeling & Sericulture Presentation

Featured Exhibition Halls & Highlights to Experience

Covered about 25,000 sq.m.,China National Silk Museum consists of six main parts – “The Story of Chinese Silk”, “Sericulture and Silk Craftsmanship in China”, “An Evolution of Fashion: Chinese Costume from 1920s to 2010s”, “From Rural to Urban: 400 Years of Western Fashion”, “Textile Conservation Gallery” and “Xinyou Archive Center”.

Better Know the History of Chinese Silk & the Silk Road

China, the home of silk, is the earliest country raising silkworms and weaving silk. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as “seres” (丝国). In this exhibition hall “The Way of Chinese Silk: Silk History and the Silk Road”, travelers can know Chinese Silk vividly through 5000 years’ history and spread through the Silk Road. On the second and third floor, it displays precious materials of different times from prehistoric era (5000 years ago) to Ming (1368~1662) and Qing (1636~1912) Dynasties.

Have Basic Understanding about Sericulture and Silk Craftsmanship

Sericulture and silk technology originated in China, and has since served as a cultural symbol of the Chinese nation. “Sericulture and Silk Craftsmanship in China” was awarded a place on the "Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO on September 28, 2009. This exhibition displays every aspect of sericulture and silk craftsmanship, including mulberry cultivation, silkworm breeding and silk reeling, dyeing, weaving and the relevant customs.

Witness An Evolution of Fashion from 1920s to 2010s

This “An Evolution of Fashion: Chinese Costumes from 1920s to 2010s” exhibition hall is like a huge wardrobe of any Chinese women. Travelers can view exquisite clothes from 1920s to 2010s, ranging from Qi-pao which recognized as the most representative of Chinese women’s costumes and presented the graceful shape and unique charms of Chinese women, to Chinese tunic suit which is traditionally known as Zhongshan suit, to China’s fashion design to integrate with the global trends…In this exhibition, you can have a vivid view of the process of change in Chinese fashion throughout the century to present achievements of Chinese fashion.

Appreciate 400 Years of Western Fashion

In the exhibition hall “From Rural to Urban: 400 Years of Western Fashion”, travelers can appreciate major fashion in the Western world during the past four hundred years. The first hall of the exhibition concentrates on European fashion from 1600 to 1800. In the second half of the exhibition, starting in the second half of 20th century. You can view 17th century Baroque Dress, 18th century Robe Volante, Polish Dress, PANEA Dress and 19th century Jane Austen Dress, Bustle, etc. In 20th century, there were many costumes from excellent designers, like Jeanne Lanvin, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, Hubert DeGivenchy, Pierre Balmain, etc. Besides the dresses, you can take a glance at the change of shoes, handbags, jewelry, make-up utensils.

Pay a Visit to Textile Conservation Gallery

The Textile Conservation Gallery is the demonstrative application base of Innovation Alliance in National Cultural Relics Conservation Scientific and Technological Area (Zhejiang Province). In this gallery, travelers can not only have a look at the whole restoration of cultural textiles, but also enjoy the relics after restoration.

Take a Glance at Xinyou Archive Center

The Xinyou Archive Center is a textile information center named after Zhu Xinyu and Jiang Youlong, two important predecessors in the textile industry. Travelers can learn many knowledge from samples of modern fabrics, precious personnel archive, historical newspapers, books and audio materials at home and abroad concerning silkworm breeding and silk reeling, the history of silk, dyeing techniques, the history of garment, textile archaeology and the Silk Road.

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China National Silk Museum Dragon Robes in Qing Dynasties (1636~1912)
China National Silk Museum All Kinds of Loom for Silk Weaving
China National Silk Museum Qi-pao, the most representative of Chinese women’s costumes
China National Silk Museum 18th century Western Fashion
China National Silk Museum Silk Restoration in Textile Conservation Gallery

In-depth Knowledge about Chinese Silk History

  • The Prehistoric Era - the Origins of Sericulture. The excavated remnants of sericulture, discovered in archaeological sites along the Yellow River have shown concrete evidence that, as early as 5000 years ago, people living there have accomplished the domestication of the wild silkworm and the invention of tools for reeling, spinning and weaving of silk fivers after a long, slow and arduous process of experimentation and discovery.
  • The Period of Warring States, Qin and Han Dynasty – Classical Silk Manufacture in China. During these seven centuries, unprecedented advances took place in sericulture technology and scale, and the importance of silk in Chinese grew significantly. The breeding of silkworms, cultivation of mulberry trees and invention of looms in which foot operated treadles controlled the warp to allow the insertion of weft threads, as well as pattering looms in which “pre-programmed” patterns could be reproduced coalesced in the classical system of Chinese silk production.
  • The Period of Wei, Jin and Southern and Northern Dynasties - A Turn of the Silk Road. During this time, the China and Japan had frequent interaction and Japanese came to Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces to purchase some silk and invite craftsmen to Japan to teach craftsmanship.
  • The Period of Sui, Tang and the Five Dynasties - Diverse and Inclusive. It has played a key role in the development of Chinese silk. The government set up specialized institution to manage the quality, standard and style of silk. The silk trade became flourishing through the Land Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road and also silk breeding, reeling, weaving skills spread far and wild.
  • The Period of Song, Yuan, Liao and Jin Dynasty - Difference between the North and South. For the chaos in the late Song, the silk industry suffered a serious defeat in the north, while it development quickly in the south. The silk production center transformed to Southeast coastal area.
  • The Period of Ming and Qing Dynasties – The Feudal Ritual. In the Ming Dynasty, men wore robes with round collars, right opening and wide sleeves. In the Qing Dynasty, men wore short “Mandarin” jackets over long robes, and Manchu women wore qifu robes and some long enough to reach the ground. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Han Chinese women continued to wear traditional tops and skirts. During these periods, not only clothing, but even articles used in daily life by aristocrats and commoners alike were decorated with patterns and motifs signifying good fortune, happiness, longevity, large families and other auspicious concepts. This customs embodies the desire for a healthy and happy life, a key element of traditional culture in ancient China.
China National Silk Museum Silk Blouse in Taffeta with Tie Dye Pattern (L72cm, W192cm, Northern Dynasties. 386-581 A.D)
China National Silk Museum Blue Wax-resist Dyed Tabby with Flowers (L78cm;W51cm, Tang dynasty 618-970 A.D)
China National Silk Museum Polychrome Embroidered Manchurian Dress (L138cm, W124cm, Qing Dynasty. 18th-19th centuries)

Location & How to Get to China National Silk Museum

China National Silk Museum is located at Yuhuangshan Road which is on the south side of Hangzhou West Lake, close to Leifeng Pagoda, Changqiao Bridge Park, Colored Port View Fish Garden, Prince Bay Park, etc.

Distance from Main Tourist Spots of Hangzhou:

  • About 1.2 kilometers from West Lake
  • About 2 kilometers from Su Causeway & Leifeng Pagoda
  • About 5.2 kilometers from Broken Bridge & Bai Causeway
  • About 3 kilometers from Hefang Street
  • About 8 kilometers from Liuhe Pagoda
China National Silk Museum Location Map Click to Enlarge the Location Map of China National Silk Museum

Get to/off China National Silk Museum

Independent travelers can take taxi, bus, or bicycle to reach China National Silk Museum. If you take taxi from your hotel, it may take 15 minutes. Also, you can take bus No. 4, 12, 42, 51, 52, 87, 133, 334, Y6, Y2 and more to stop at Silk Museum station. If you take a bike to cycle around West Lake and its nearby attraction, you can add China National Silk Museum into your travel list which it takes about 8 minutes from Su Causeway and Leifeng Pagoda Scenic Area to China National Silk Museum.

Travel with China Discovery (Recommended):

If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can take a private tour package which covers sightseeing, night shows and activities, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to China National Silk Museum with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.

Useful Travel Tips

1. Opening Hours

Unlike other museums, China National Silk Museum opens from Mondays to Sundays. On Monday, it opens at 12:00~17:00 and 09:00~17:00 for national holidays; and on Tuesdays to Sundays, it opens at 09:00~17:00. Exhibition halls are cleared fifteen minutes before closing. Textile Conservation Gallery is closed during Weekends and National Holidays.

2. Free Docent Appointment

Travelers can make a reservation for free explanation about this silk museum. It is available from Monday (12:00~17:00) to Sunday (09:00~17:00). If you want to make it on your own, you can call at +86 0571-87035223. Or, if you want any help from China Discovery, please feel free to tell us.

3. Audio Guide Device

The museum provides travelers with digital audio tour for free. Both Chinese and English languages are available. Travelers should show your ID card or passport card and fill the registration form of audio tour use. 200 RMB of guarantee deposit is needed for each device and it would be returned after the device returned in its original condition.

4. Exhibition of International Silk

In the Fashion Hall, there are 197 pieces of silk exhibits from Tokyo National Museum, South Korea’s National Palace Museum, Russia’s National Museum of Oriental, etc. This exhibition lasts for 3 month till December 05, 2016. If there is any other changes, we’ll update timely.

5. Textile Training Experience

China National Silk Museum has set up Textile Training Center which offers the professional courses related to dyeing, weaving, embroidering and plaiting. Travelers can come to “Textile Training Center” to learn weaving techniques in relaxing atmosphere and experience fun of weaving.

6. Silk Product Purchase

There is a service center for travelers to take a rest and buy some silk products. All the silk products are guaranteed to be genuine.

China National Silk Museum Textile Training Demonstration Area
China National Silk Museum World of Silk Exhibition
China National Silk Museum Tourist Service Center

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