Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Suzhou - The Silk Capital

We left Shanghai for Suzhou by high-speed 'D' train - it took only 40 minutes or so. Along the way, we saw waterways, most noticeably The Canal which irrigates Suzhou aiding in its illustrious culture and turning it into prosperous land. It is of little surprise that Suzhou is called ''Heaven on Earth''. The beautifully landscaped city of Suzhou is located in the south-east of Jiangsu Province.


We visited the Humble Administrator Garden - not that humble in our opinion - the grounds are beautifully maintained - what a lucky administrator!


This park is frequented by many, some more famous than others as you will see below. Glad to have seen these beautiful buildings....


Architecturally interesting....


For my Singaporean friends - you will surely recognize these two high-ranking Singapore officials. Back in the early 1990s, Singapore assisted the Chinese and later formed the China Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park.


My American friends should recognize this German immigrant. He worked for President Nixon as........


There are giant koi in these ponds......


Ponds surrounded this tranquil park - seen here blooming lilies.


Close-up of a lily flower.


Lady vendor on a tiny wooden boat selling edible lily pods.....


The park also boasts an impressive collection of bonsai....


Taking shelter under a bonsai plant/tree....


Next we visited the famous Suzhou Silk Museum.



video
Listen to Gerda as she explains some of the highlights of this museum....


Silk worms feeding on Mulberry leaves....


Wax statue holding a big rattan tray full of silk worms feasting on Mulberry leaves.


video
Click on this video to see live silk worms.....


After a period of hard work - balls of raw silk are produced by dipping cocooned silk worms into hot water - as you guess it, the worms die in the process. Yes, the worms are sacrificed for our benefit - sounds like a familiar story with the precious lamb doesn't it.


Next, the balls of silk are then painstaking woven together using this machine. Silk is still produced this way - a tedious and time consuming process - no wonder silk is expensive.


video
The neat thing is that no electricity is needed to run this machine - click on this video to see the intricate process of silk making.


Artifact depicting the famous ancient Silk Route.....


A silk painting - David liked this - he is a tiger.


Silk artifacts of various kinds - so smooth and luxurious.


Back in our hotel room, we saw this sign in the shower door - it was well-meaning but hopefully not that dramatic.

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