With history of over 2,500 years, Suzhou has a large abundance of local products to offer tourists. Suzhou-style embroidery, calligraphy, paintings, silk, fans, writing brushes and fans are for sale nearly everywhere in Suzhou.
What to Buy
Su embroidery is one of the four major styles of Chinese Embroidery. Vivid depictions of animals, people, landscapes and flowers are popular themes of Su embroidery. Traditional embroidery is blended with fashionable contemporary elements, yielding a style of embroidery that is appreciated by both Chinese people and foreigners. You can enjoy more exquisite Suzhou embroidery in the Su Embroidery Museum, which is at No.262, Jingde Road.
From ancient times, the silk produced in Suzhou has been considered among the best in China. As its name implies, Song Brocade, which is woven from the outstanding silk of Suzhou, is made in the style of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Song Brocade, which is made in a variety of styles and serves many functions, is always elegantly designed and colored. If you want to learn more about the silk culture of the city and do some shopping, consider the Suzhou Silk Museum. It is located at No.2001 Renmin Road.
This is another of the fine handcrafts available in Suzhou. The traditional folding fans can be made of sandalwood or mandarin silk, while the newer style round fans are made of paper. They make good gifts.
Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Prints
Usually posted on exterior doors, Chinese New Year prints were originally used to exorcise the house of evil spirits. The combination of interesting subjects with woodblock printing helped this craft develop into a popular form of folk art. Incorporating auspicious themes that portray mother and child, local stories, religious motifs and well-known fables, Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Prints, which are internationally recognized, are created using a three-step process that requires the image to be drawn on paper, carved in the selected wood and then printed. You can purchase this traditional handcraft at No.190 Shantang Street.
Suzhou Writing Brush
Writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper are the four treasures of calligraphy in China. The special Huzhou writing brush that is currently produced in Suzhou, originated in Zhejiang Province. Brushes sold in the city today have incorporated a series of improvements, becoming a distinctive specialty of the area.
Biluochun green tea is produced in Wu County. It is one of the ten famous Chinese Teas and is noted for its smooth shape, fresh color, fragrant aroma and mellow taste. The best Biluochun tea leaves are picked during March and April, and the prepared tea leaves are curled like screws and covered with white fuzz. Production of authentic Biluochun tea is very limited, making it expensive and hard to find.