This article is reprinted from the Learning Power APP - Suzhou Learning Platform, “my museum trip,” theme essay collection activity. The author is Zheng Guo, a sixth grade student at Haiyu Central Primary School in Changshu, Jiangsu Province. We are extremely pleased that Zheng Guo chose to visit the Six Arts Museum and share her experience in her beautifully written essay posted below. Now let's enjoy her essay together.
Old Objects Illuminate Old Times
一次偶然的机会，我了解到在江苏苏州黎里古镇上有一个叫作“六悦博物馆”的地方，在整个长三角地区的博物馆中独树一帜。“六悦”，意为人有六感——视觉、嗅觉、味觉、听觉、触觉和直觉，“眼耳鼻舌身意，皆悦，是为六悦。”博物馆的英文名“Six Arts Museum”，对应着中国传统的“礼、乐、射、御、书、数”六艺。
By chance, I learned that there is a place called "Six Arts Museum" in the ancient town of Lili, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, which is unique among all of the museums in the entire Yangtze River Delta region. In Chinese, "Six Arts," refers to the pleasure people experience with all of their six senses - vision, smell, taste, hearing, touch and intuition, when visiting the Six Arts Museum. The English name of the museum "Six Arts” refers to the traditional six arts, namely rites, music, archery, chariot riding, calligraphy, and mathematics, which students were required to master in the Zhou Dynasty in order to become a perfect gentleman.
Before I visited the museum, I did my homework: the tens of thousands of exhibits in the Six Arts Museum have been carefully collected by the museum’s founder Mitch Dudek. Over the past 40 plus years, he has traveled all over the country, through the cities and into the countryside where he visited the rural people and collected exquisite works hidden in the villages. When I learned that the owner of this museum, which is well known as the largest folk collection museum in East China, was actually a foreigner, I could not help but feel even more admiration and pride. It shows that our Chinese folk art must have a unique internationally appealing charm.
Before the popularization of modern means of transportation, the wheelbarrow was a light and convenient tool for transporting goods and carrying people.
When I came to this museum, I was deeply attracted by the uniquely designed exterior walls in front of me. The bright and brilliant colors of the exterior walls formed a sharp contrast with the cultural relic museums I had been to previously. I shouted excitedly: "Six Arts, I'm finally here!" The Six Arts Museum has broken the mold of many traditional museums. The exhibits in the museums I have been to are usually placed in glass cases, but the exhibits here at Six Arts are open. Not only can you see the museum exhibits, but you can also touch them!
Inside the museum, classical elements collide with bright color blocks, creating stunning visual impact. All kinds of old objects are placed in different exhibition halls, and the unique displays make me feel like I am on the scene in old China. Drug stores, pawnshops and tailor shops in the street market are bustling. In the front yard and back hall of large families, flower beds and fish ponds record the different lives of different generations. In the homes of common people, there are farm implements that I have never even seen before.
This walls combine the design style and artistic elements of ancient buildings from around China.
Among the many exhibits, the one that impressed me most was a three-step bed. From appearance point of view, the three-step bed is like adding a small wooden house outside the bedroom. It is a huge, complex structure and ornate in decoration. The surface of the bed is carved with patterns, and small furniture such as tables and stools are placed on both sides of the bed. The hostess can dress and dress up in it, which is like an independent room. According to the introduction , the three step bed is also called a thousand workers bed, and "thousand workers” refers to the more than 1000 days (3 years) that it purportedly takes to build such a bed. Such an ingenious bed is not only the crystallization of the wisdom of national craftsmen, but also contains rich cultural connotations, and the admiration in my heart arises spontaneously.
Six Arts Museum Bed Collection: Three Step Bed.
These works of art may not be the most representative from the perspective of craftsmanship or artistic value, but they carry memories, explain history, spread culture, and display the painstaking efforts of countless craftsmen over the past thousands of years, and vividly outline the living conditions of Chinese people in ancient times. By visiting the Six Arts Museum, I can not only read the rich stories of different eras and regions, but I can also appreciate the precious inheritance of craftsmanship.
The author visits Six Arts Museum
My visit to the Six Arts Museum opened a new perspective for me when visiting a museum. I was astonished by the many generations of craftsmen and their creative spirit, and I was happy to have discovered such a foreign friend who is so keen on the heritage of Chinese culture. His collection reflects the changes in China's material and spiritual life over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, and also witnesses the unique landscape of China's comprehensive construction of a moderately prosperous society from the perspective of a foreigner.
(The author, Zheng Guo, is a sixth-grade student at Haiyu Central Primary School in Changshu, Jiangsu Province)