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Classic Legends

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2011-09-21

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Suzhou is a land of classic legends, ranging from the world’s oldest cross-continental trade routes to the most influential military book in ancient China. Marco Polo, probably the most famous westerner, traveled on the Silk Road and visited Suzhou in 1276. According to his words, Suzhou was then dotted with bridges, rich in silk production and renowned for its elaborate handicrafts. The Art of War, a Chinese military treatise written by Sun Tzuin Suzhou (at that time known as the State of Wu) during the Spring and Autumn period (600 B.C.), was later widely implemented in both Asian and Western culture and politics.

Classic Legends

The classic legends of Suzhou began as early as the 21st century B.C. when King Wu (also known as Taibo) made Suzhou the capital of the State of Wu. It is said in history that realizing that his younger brother, Jili, was wiser than him, and deserved to inherit the throne, Taibo, the eldest son of King Zhou, fled to Suzhou and established the State of Wu.

As time passed by the classic legends of Suzhou developed in different fields. Exquisite carving works on miniature objects such as grains of rice or individual beans, Suzhou silk embroideries, Chinese paintings on fans and Kun Operaare just a few examples. Wang Shuyuan, a Suzhou local craftsman in the Ming Dynasty, managed to carve on a 3.3-centimeter long walnut with a vivid picture of a boat including windows, tea pot, stove, five people and 24 Chinese characters inside. Also in the Ming Dynasty, a talented Chinese painter called Tang Bohu spent most of his life in Suzhou. In time, Suzhou Classical Gardens, lakes and mountains, and the lifestyles of local scholars became common subjects in his paintings.

Amazingly enough, classic legends still carry on even today in Suzhou.

The world famous architect Leoh Ming Peiis so in love with his hometown that in 2003, he came back to his job at the age of 83 after 12 years’ retirement and presented a one-of-a-kind design for the new Suzhou Museum. Furthermore, 83 Suzhou natives have been inducted into the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering.

As you can see, owing to its profound cultural connotation, Suzhou is truly a place of classic legends, whether in the past, present or future!

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