Suzhou Opera Museum

                               Suzhou Opera Museum
At No.1 East Maanshan Road (Maanshan Dong Lu) in Kunshan, visitors find the Kun Opera Museum in Tinglin Park. Kunshan is the cradle of Kun Opera, which is said to be the ancestor of all operas in China. In 2001, the Kun Opera was included on the List of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. To promote this traditional art, the Kun Opera Museum was established in 1993.
The design of the museum is mellow and exquisite. It is an archaized complex with a clear stream wandering through. Carved beams and painted pillars echo with winding corridors, elegant pavilions and intriguing rockeries, recapturing the scene of Kun Opera in ancient times. An ancient style stage and the auditorium constitute the main buildings of the museum. The museum has seven exhibition halls, displaying varied information on the Kun Opera.
In the No.1 Exhibition Hall, three lifelike waxwork statues of the founders of the Kun Opera are exhibited. Playwrights of different schools and six main troupes of the opera are introduced in the No.2 Exhibition Hall. Using the technology of reproduction of images, this hall also presents the scene of the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911): Kangxis appreciation of the Kun Opera. Other halls in the corridors show beautiful costumes, fascinating facial masks and various instruments. Information about great Kunshan artists and features of the opera is also available. In the past, corridors of this kind were also used as loges for audiences to appreciate the opera.
To the south of the corridors is the enchanting archaized stage. The overhang of this stage is patterned with two dragons playing with a pearl. 420 elaborate woodcarvings of phoenixes are enchased in the dome, soaring towards the sun. Boards around the stage are engraved with the scenes of the highlights of the traditional Kun operas. The stage itself is a precious artwork, vividly conveying features of the Kun Opera.

                            

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