Wuxi Language and Culture Learning Resources

Wuxi icon with text - 75 x 75This page features Mandarin vocabulary terms and cultural information relevant to places and attractions in Wuxi that are featured on our tours. For additional information on learning Chinese, especially while traveling in China, visit our Chinese Language Resources Page. See photos of Wuxi attractions and get information such as tours that feature Wuxi, Wuxi travel tips, and Wuxi-related links on our Wuxi Photo Gallery and Information Page.

Note: The materials on this page are © China International Travel CA, Inc. (all rights reserved) and are intended for private, personal, and noncommercial use only.

CIT tour participants: For a list of the specific attractions featured on your tour, please refer to the itinerary.

Quizlet icon - 75 x 75 Study these words on our Wuxi-Related Words Quizlet page! Quizlet offers a variety of useful study features and is compatible with a wide range of apps on popular mobile platforms. See the Quizlet links in each section below for more specific lists.
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Click on the pinyin pronunciation key for each word below to hear its pronunciation.

无锡 (Wúxī): Wuxi, a city in East-Central China’s Jiangsu Province (江苏省, Jiāngsū Shěng) near Lake Tai, population 6,372,624 (2010)

鱼米之乡 (yú mǐ zhī xiāng): land of plenty; literally “village of fish and rice” (used in the Chinese versions of our Wuxi itineraries to describe the historical perception of Wuxi as a prosperous place)

Li Garden and Li Lake Park

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蠡园 (Lí Yuán) and 蠡湖公园 (Lí Hú Gōngyuán): Li Garden and Li Lake Park, classical garden and lake adjacent to Lake Tai

  • 范蠡 (Fàn Lí)
    Fan Li, Minister in the Spring and Autumn Period for whom the garden and lake are named
  • 西施 (Xī Shī)
    Xi Shi, one of the “Four Beauties” of ancient China; she went boating on Li Lake with Fan Li
Blossoming trees in Li Garden, Wuxi, China - photo by DvYang
Blossoming trees in Li Garden
(photo by DvYang)
  • 春秋时代 (Chūn-Qiū Shídài)
    Spring and Autumn Period, historical period predating the unification of China under the First Emperor, generally reckoned as 776-471 BCE or 776-403 BCE
  • literal translations of the names of pavilions in Li Garden:
    四季亭 (Sì Jì Tíng): “Pavilions of the Four Seasons”
    流韵 (Liú Yùn): “Mellifluous Sounds”
    天远 (Tiān Yuǎn): “Heaven’s (or the Sky’s) Remoteness”
    悦红 (Yuè Hóng): “Delightful Red”
    清辉 (Qīng Huī): “Clear and Bright Light”
  • 水镜廊 (Shuǐjìng Láng)
    literally, “Corridor of Water-Mirrors”; a long covered walkway in Li Garden exhibiting famous artworks created in tribute to the beauty of Lake Tai over the ages
Zisha Teapot Museum

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Yixing zisha (紫砂, purple clay) teapot by Cheng Jianming
An Yixing zisha teapot
(photo by Shouzen Zisha Teapots)

紫砂茶壶博物馆 (Zǐshā Cháhú Bówùguǎn): Zisha Teapot Museum

  • 紫砂 (zǐshā)
    zisha, “purple clay” used in making famous Yixing teapots
  • 宜兴 (Yíxīng)
    Yixing, the name of the county where the famous teapots originate from
  • 功夫茶 (gōngfū chá)
    gongfu tea or kung fu tea, method of brewing tea using small Yixing-style clay pots
Three Kingdoms City

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三国城 (Sānguó Chéng): Three Kingdoms City, a theme park that re-creates aspects of Three Kingdoms-era Chinese society

A replica of a boat from ancient China at Three Kingdoms City in Wuxi, China - photo by Stephen Oung
A boat at Three Kingdoms City
(photo by Stephen Oung)
  • 三国时代 (Sānguó Shídài)
    Three Kingdoms Period, a period of Chinese history following the fall of the Han Dynasty, usually identified as 220-280 AD; the three kingdoms or states referred to are Wei (魏, Wèi, or 曹魏, Cáo Wèi), Shu (蜀, Shǔ, or 蜀汉, Shǔ Hàn), and Wu (吴, , or 东吴, Dōng Wú)
  • 三国演义 (Sānguó Yǎnyì)
    Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a historical novel by Luo Guanzhong (罗贯中, Luó Guànzhōng) set during the period; one of the most popular works of literature in Chinese history and one of the Four Great Classical Novels (四大名著, Sì Dà Míngzhù)
  • 三国志 (Sānguó Zhì)
    Records of the Three Kingdoms, a history of the Three Kingdoms period written during the 3rd century CE by Chen Shou (陈寿, Chén Shòu)
  • 赤壁之战 (Chìbì Zhī Zhàn)
    Battle of Red Cliffs, a battle that led to the establishment of the independent southern states of Shu and Wu; the forces of Cao Cao (曹操, Cáo Cāo) fought against those of Liu Bei (刘备, Liú Bèi) and Sun Quan (孙权, Sūn Quán)
  • 诸葛亮 (Zhūgě Liàng)
    Zhuge Liang, an important military strategist during the Three Kingdoms Period
Lake Tai

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太湖 (Tài Hú): Lake Tai, China’s 3rd-largest freshwater lake; both Wuxi and Suzhou are situated near the lake

Wuxi - Lake Tai sunset - Synyan - 187 x 140
Sunset on Lake Tai
(photo by Synyan)
  • 浙江 (Zhèjiāng) and 江苏 (Jiāngsū)
    Zhejiang and Jiangsu, provinces that border Lake Tai
  • 鼋头渚 (Yuántóu Zhǔ)
    literally, “Turtle Head Isle,” famous island in Lake Tai named for its appearance
  • 西山 (Xī Shān)
    Xishan (literally, “Western Mountain”), the largest island in Lake Tai
  • 流星 (liúxīng)
    meteor (literally, “moving star” or “wandering star”); Lake Tai’s shape is believed to be the result of a meteor impact
Garden- and Lake-Related Words

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园林 (yuánlín): traditional landscaped garden containing trees, plants, ponds, pavilions, Chinese scholars’ rocks, etc.

亭 (tíng): pavilion; often 亭子(tíngzi), or in combination with other characters

廊 (láng): covered walkway (also, porch or veranda); such walkways in a 园林 are usually open on both sides; often 廊子, (lángzi), or in combination with other characters

山水 (shānshuǐ): literally, “mountain and water”; natural scenery imitated in Chinese gardens with features like 供石, 池沼, and 假山

假山 (jiǎshān): literally, “false mountain”; piles or arrangements of rocks in a Chinese garden intended to look like mountain scenery

供石 (gòngshí): Chinese scholars’ rocks, naturally formed limestone rocks in unusual shapes that are often used to decorate traditional Chinese gardens; 供石 from Lake Tai are highly prized (the more general term 奇石, qíshí, can also be used to refer to 供石)

池沼 (chízhǎo): pond, as in a 园林

莲花 (liánhuā) or 荷花 (héhuā): lotus, water-lily; a common feature of Chinese gardens, ponds, and lakes

金鱼 (jīnyú) and 鲤鱼 (lǐyú): goldfish and carp, often raised in garden ponds

泛舟 (fàn zhōu): to go boating (on a lake)

珍珠 (zhēnzhū): pearls; Lake Tai is famous for its cultured pearls

Changguang Creek Wetlands

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长广溪湿地 (Chángguǎng Xī Shīdì): Changguang Creek Wetlands, an ancient river course where the Wuxi area’s earliest settlers lived; a variety of cultural artifacts are still being discovered there

  • 河道 (hédào)
    river course, watercourse
  • 遗物 (yíwù)
    remnant(s), relic(s) (in an anthropological sense)
  • 环保 (huánbǎo)
    environmental protection [n] or environmentally friendly [adj]; commonly used abbreviation of 环境保护 (huánjìng bǎohù)
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