Do you know that an 800-year-old map showed the exact location of 359 bridges in downtown Suzhou at that time.
This map was painted in Song Dynasty (南宋), more specifically 1229 A.D., by a man named Shouming Li (李寿明). Li, the mayor of Suzhou at that time， ordered the two great artists and engineers at that time to curve that map onto a stone. Refurbished in 1917, the stone map is now preserved in Suzhou Confucius Museum (文庙), near Suzhou High School.
The map is 248cm tall, 146cm wide, and 30cm thick; and it’s the biggest stone map in China. It showed the exact location of all the rivers, main buildings, and 359 Suzhou bridges at that time. The map used an 2.5D style of curving, combing the preciseness of 2D map and the vibrance of 3D buildings. It not only shows the prosperous ancient city but also the complicated river system of Suzhou.
As a cannel town, Suzhou relies heavily on water transportation. The celebrities at that time were proud of owing a harbor for their boats near their houses. Rivers can be seen everywhere in the city, and so did bridges. They are crucial to this ancient city and the everyday live of Suzhou people.
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