A rocking stone used in the silk fabric dyeing process in the past.
The Ciyun Temple Pagoda, in the background, is a Zhenze landmark. Built during the Chiwu reign (238-251) in the Three Kingdoms period, it is a key cultural relic site under state protection.
The “Western Shift of the Eastern Mulberry Project” is part of China’s sericulture development strategy to gradually shift the focus of cocoon production from east to west. With economic development and accelerated urbanization in eastern China, in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in particular, there has been a concomitant rise in land and labor costs, hampering the development of traditional sericulture and causing the scale of production to shrink year by year. By contrast, socio-economic development in China’s western region is comparatively lagging but it is rich in land and labor resources, which furnish good natural and social foundations for developing a sericulture industry. Therefore the strategic westward shift of cocoon production is of great importance in maintaining a stable sericulture industry, ensuring China’s status as a major silk producing country and promoting economic development in the central and western regions.
Students conducting experiments at Soochow University, the only university in China that offers a complete set of subjects related to the silk industry chain, ranging from moriculture, sericulture, silk reeling, silk weaving, dyeing and printing, to garment design, and silk culture promotion. In December 2008, China’s State Development and Reform Commission approved the establishment of a National Engineering Laboratory for Modern Silk in Soochow University. Its mission is to solve bottleneck problems in the development of the traditional silk industry through modern science and technology, develop new products, and gather and train new talent for technological innovations to promote the upgrading of the silk industry. The lab spans 13,800 square meters, and possesses facilities worth nearly 100 million yuan.
Suzhou-Silk City is a book compiled by the Information Office of Suzhou Municipal People's Government and published by Foreign Languages Press Co. Ltd.
Suzhou, though associated with classical gardens, is even more the city of silk. The peaks and troughs experienced in Suzhou’s silk making and embroidery worlds are an important aspect of the enduring brilliance of China’s silk art.