Venice, Suzhou clothing fabrics on display at Palazzo Mocenigo

With the exhibition on silk textiles from Suzhou, celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo's death officially opened in Venice. The exhibition will remain open at Palazzo Mocenigo until February 29.

With the exhibition The Axis of Time. Silk Clothing Fabrics from Suzhou at the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo officially opened the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo’s death.

The exhibition, which will remain open until Feb. 29, is part of a larger project that commemorates and renews the historical link between the two water cities Venice and Suzhou, officially twinned since 1980 and located at the ends of the Silk Road. For both cities there is a strong connection with the figure of Marco Polo who, during his long journey to the East as Kublai Khan’s appointee, was captivated by Suzhou and its silks. Silk is precisely the protagonist of the exhibition of some 20 dresses, original creations, textiles and faithful replicas of ancient garments from the Suzhou Silk Museum, a center for the research, preservation, conservation and protection of the millennia-old weaving technique that made the silk of the Jiangnan region famous. Creations such as Song Dynasty brocade, lampas, Kesi silk tapestries, or the typical Suzhou embroidery known as velvet pattern, here on display with precious specimens, still today are examples of China’s intangible cultural heritage.

“These are creations that today,” explained museum director Chiara Squarcina, “as in the time of the Venetian traveler, arouse awe and wonder for their refinement and preciousness. A value not only aesthetic and executive but also a testimony of cultural exchange, in a collaborative perspective that, today as yesterday, translates into inclusion, dissemination and dialogue between institutions. A joint work between all the components of the celebrations committee, which underlines the inestimable value of this tribute to the figure of Marco Polo.”

The dialogue with the spaces of the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo, Center for the Study of the History of Textile, Costume and Perfume, which houses the textile and antique clothing collections of the Civic Museums, is also an opportunity to compare from an aesthetic and manufacturing point of view the style of clothing during the Serenissima Republic with that of the main ruling dynasties in the ancient Chinese empire.

The exhibition is curated by Qian Zhaoyue, Director of the Suzhou Silk Museum, Liu Xu Dong, Consultant of the Suzhou Silk Museum, Chiara Squarcina, Head of the Palazzo Mocenigo Museum, Massimo Andreoli, President Wavents srl, and Laura Fincato, Honorary Citizen of Suzhou.

The project is sponsored by the City of Venice, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Suzhou Silk Museum, Foreign Affairs Office of the Suzhou Municipal People’s Government, Confucius Institute at Ca’ Foscari University Venice, Suzhou Municipal Office for Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism, Suzhou Radio and Television Media Group.

“No city over the years,” Fincato concluded, “has been able to maintain true, concrete relations, marked by friendship, based on respect for diversity with the city of Suzhou. This first event of the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo’s death is not by chance about silk, because it represents the great Chinese culture and the great skill of its craftsmen. And the gift given to us by Suzhou, which has lent us these clothes for the exhibition, is a sign of respect and willingness to continue the friendly relations that have bound and honored us so far.”

"This is an exhibition that allows us to strengthen our ties with Suzhou and with China," began Paola Mar, the municipal councillor forUrban Planning, at the inauguration, “thanks to the figure of Marco Polo, as a great traveler, a great diplomat and trader, but also a man who was able to intercept and get to know in depth a culture different from ours, and knew how to love it and spread it at home and around the world. A personality who is always current and contemporary, an example for all Venetians and not only: what we are today we also owe to Marco Polo, his travels, his experiences.”

For all information, you can visit the official website of Palazzo Mocenigo.

Venice, Suzhou clothing fabrics on display at Palazzo Mocenigo
Venice, Suzhou clothing fabrics on display at Palazzo Mocenigo

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