The many museums of Tongli

There are all sorts of museums in Tongli and they are housed in old, well preserved Qing or Ming era merchant homes. Apparently, Suzhou and Hangzhou had one of the largest trade business going on in ancient China and many merchants became very wealthy and were able to afford all sorts of luxuries. Many of them build huge mansions in their hometowns and there were quite a few of these merchants that build large mansions with multiple courtyards in Tongli.

There were so many artifacts in some of these mansions that I get a little lost sometimes. There was a museum of ancient Chinese beds from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Usually they are carved out of wood with lots of detail carvings and painted with different murals inside. Some of them had paintings of children to bless the married couple with more children while others had more sexual scenes.

Yet another museum showcased stone carvings and ivory artifacts such as chest sets or statues of gods.

Another one that caught my attention was works of art done by a famous Chinese root sculptor. The would carve out wonderful humongous works of art out of ancient tree roots. The details are amazing and the most interesting thing is the sheer size of it! Even after carving, the wood statues are still really huge! I cannot imagine the trees that these roots come from.


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