Buttons Museum, Xitang – Ticket, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

buttons museum xitang

The Buttons Museum (纽扣博物馆) is situated in Xue Family Residence within Xitang Water Town. Originally a general store, it occupied a prime location in the bustling commercial center, facing the street with the river at its rear, typical of the town’s residential-commercial architecture. After being destroyed by a major fire, the Xue family rebuilt it on the original site. Given that Xitang is renowned as a hub for buttons in China, authorities renovated it into the “Buttons Museum.” The museum comprises six exhibition halls: Ancient Buttons Display Area, Modern Buttons Display Area, Contemporary Buttons Display Area, Shell Button Production Process Display Area, Button Application Area, and Chinese Knot Display Area.

Despite their small size, buttons boast a long history and diverse styles. From the Han Dynasty to the present day, from the oldest and simplest shell buttons to the elaborate and exquisite decorative buttons, the Buttons Museum in Xitang showcases over a thousand types of buttons from various eras. The museum also provides comprehensive thematic introductions to the origin, development, and evolution of buttons, featuring both physical exhibits and informative visuals. Buttons come in a multitude of materials, including jade, gemstones, pearls, agate, diamonds, shells, horn, ivory, bone, bamboo, wood, fabric, leather, porcelain, plastic, glass, enamel, coconut shell, walnut shell, crystal, celluloid, gold, silver, copper, iron, aluminum, lead, platinum, and stainless steel. Additionally, the museum exhibits a large collection of belt hooks, belt buckles, and traditional Chinese clothing related to buttons. Of particular note is the display of the world’s largest button in the main hall on the second floor. Made of Thai rosewood, it has a diameter of 1.8 meters, a thickness of 0.18 meters, and weighs 420.2 kilograms, earning it the title of “Button King.”

At the Buttons Museum, visitors not only have the opportunity to admire buttons from ancient to modern times and from different cultures but also can try their hand at making buttons themselves. In the workshop on the second floor, elderly ladies dressed in Tang Dynasty attire demonstrate the process of making Tang-style “wrapped buttons” for visitors. Interested guests can also try their hand at making these buttons. If you’re unable to master the technique, you can purchase some wrapped buttons as a unique souvenir of your visit to West Town. Similarly, downstairs features a first-generation handcraft workshop where two master craftsmen use foot-operated grinders to make shirt buttons from clam shells. After various processes such as shaping, polishing, embossing, drilling, and polishing, they produce shiny buttons reminiscent of pearls. Visitors who appreciate these buttons may receive them as complimentary souvenirs from the workshop.

Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour0.5 – 1 hour
Ticket PriceIncluded in the ticket for Xitang Water Town
Opening Hours9.00 – 17.00
Telephone Number0086-0573-84562045

Location and Transportation

The Buttons Museum is located in Xue Family Residence, situated in the middle section of West Street in the water town of Xitang, Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province. To get there, you can take bus Jiashan K535, get off at Yinchuan Road Stop (银川路站), and walk about 500 meters to the northeast.

Other Attractions in Xitang

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