Since ancient times, silk farming has been an important economic pillar in Jiangnan area. Xushuguan town in Suzhou National Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone (SND) is well-known for its sericulture industry.
Zheng Pijiang (1880-1969) was a famous sericulture scientist who made outstanding contributions to China’s sericulture research and education. Mr. Zheng became the headmaster of Jiangsu Provincial Women’s Sericultural School in 1918. He established a promotion department and organized students to publicize new technologies of silk farming among local farmers to prevent silkworm diseases and increase yields. He cultivated new silkworm species such as Xinyuan, Dayuan and Xingui, which were greatly welcomed by farmers.
The demand for the silkworm eggs produced by his school soon exceeded the supply, so Zheng discussed with his colleagues and decided to set up a silkworm breeding farm.
With the help of Fei Dasheng, Zhang Xian, Deng Zengqing, Chen Jongru and some other alumni, the school raised 12,000 yuan to set up the Dayou Silkworm Breeding Farm on the south side of the school in 1926.
The Dayou Silkworm Breeding Farm registered the trademark of “Tiger Brand” for its silkworm eggs, because it was founded in the year of the Tiger according to the Chinese lunar calendar and Xushuguan was named “Hu Liu” (“Hu” means “tiger”) in ancient times. In the following 22 years, Dayou was developed into the largest silkworm breeding farm during the period of the Republic of China (1912-1949), owning 12 large and medium-sized breeding bases across the country and its Tiger Brand silkworm eggs were sold well in provinces like Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui.
The Canli Exhibition Center has been built at the site of the former Dayou Silkworm Breeding Farm. Visitors can learn about the history of the sericulture industry and have an in-depth experience of the silk culture. In the exhibition center, some old things related to the former Dayou Silkworm Breeding Farm are on display, including special tools for planting mulberry trees, a Hu (a measuring instrument used in former times), a piece of Tiger Brand silkworm seed paper dated back to the year of 1948, a guide to Dayou Silkworm Breeding Farm published in February 1949, a marriage certificate with silk covers of the farm workers issued in 1950 and a group photo of silkworm raisers a few decades ago.
The exhibition center will also set up exhibitions to showcase the canal culture in SND.