China National Silk Museum (NSM), Hangzhou

China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou was opened first in Feb 1992 and will be reopened in Sep 2016, and now becomes one of the first state-level museums in China, where you’ll find 9,000 square meters of displays, divided into several galleries, in a typical southern Chinese garden of 40,000 square meters.

Museum’s map

Museum front gate in the evening

Museum lake in the morning

The first Silk Road Gallery will give you a journey to the Chinese silk historically and the Silk Road geometrically. Both the earliest preserved silks from Qianshanyang site, Huzhou (c.2200BCE) and the earliest pattern loom model from Laoguanshan, Chengdu (c.100BCE) are on display. More silk textiles from the Silk Road, not only polychrome woven silks from northwest of China, mainly from the 3rdto 10th centuries, but also painted and embroidered silks from Europe, mostly from the 18th to 19th centuries, will attract your eyes.

Silk Road gallery, 1st floor

Silk Road gallery, 2nd floor

Silk Road gallery, 2nd floor

For more information on how the silk is made, you can move into the Sericulture and Weaving Galleries, titled as Sericulture and Silk Craftsmanship of China, the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage, for the whole process from mulberry planting, silkworm raising, silk releasing from cocoon, dyeing, weaving and embroidery. If you are lucky enough, you can probably visit the Textile Conservation Gallery where the silk treasures from all the country are being treated,repaired and installed or packed, since this museum owns the highest technology of textile conservation in China, and runs a lot of international joint projects with many world famous museums and institutions, such the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc. 

Silk weaving gallery

Lastly, the Fashion Gallery is the only one gallery in China focusing the contemporary costumes. There are several sections, one Chinese fashion of the 20th century, one Western fashion for 400 years, and one temporary special exhibition, A World of Silks, of all the silks from the world.

Chinese fashion

Western fashion

So the China National Silk Museum is a specialized museum, focusing on the collection and exhibition of silk, textile, costume and fashion, not only Chinese, but also abroad. It is a research museum, doing laboratory research and conservation work, not only museum collection but also new findings from archaeological field. It is a living museum, weaving on traditional looms, dyeing with natural materials and creating silk products with new design. It is an international museum which has sent a silk exhibition traveling around the world and established an association for studies of Silk Road textiles,including around 30 institutes from 15 countries.

Sericulture house and mulberry garden

Textile training center

To rest your feet, you can go to the Brocade Café located in the central area of the museum. It features drinks, books, souvenirs and silk products such as clothing, decorations, and home silk-making gear. For shopping, you can also visit the Jingluntang World Silk Boutique located in the basement of fashion gallery for high-quality designer silk products, and Sibo silk shop for local silk products located in the basement of the Silk Road gallery.

Brocade café

Jingluntang silk boutique

Sibo silk shop