While there were probably troops of acrobats and street entertainers who went to Tongli on market days, the performance of Chinese opera staged in the square stems more from a desire to quiet restive tourists than a desire to achieve authenticity.

Villages strive to be unique in their quest for tourists. Tongli has several beautiful houses and gardens open to the public, but so do other villages. A few years ago they invited the Museum of Sex History to relocate from Shanghai to Tongli. It is housed in what used to be a private girls school. The museum itself is a very serious endeavor devoted to the exploration of sex and sexual attitudes through Chinese history. It's quite a good museum with well labeled exhibits.

The question is how far can you go before new attractions overwhelm the village? The possibility of getting on the list of World Heritage Sites and the support that would mean should keep development in check for awhile.

China Index >> History of Shanghai and Suzhou Region >> Tongli Village

Click on a picture or use the arrows at the top to navigate through the site.

Last update: February 2007
© Marilyn Shea 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007