Just at the Corner you can have your "Chop " made. Meaning to have your name carved in stone for use as a stamp or to imprint your markings on traditional red laquer Seal. Or , enter the Yan GuiPing Antique Store a fine example of the many shops and stores at Liu Lichang Street that sell sometimes interesting looking but usually complete Kitsch and Fake Art. If you would like to learn how to bargain with a corrupt Chinese Dealer, and improve.. Here is your chance! Take the test at one of these stores, and buy a colorful souvenir. Mind you among these, there are also worthwile products of the Traditional kind. Next to the chops one can always find fun sculptures, vases, little icons, posters and what not.
When at the crossing of Nan Xinhua Jie and Liu Lichang Street the visitor has the choice to turn either East or West. Start at Liu Lichang East street with its small Square at its front and the Pedestrian Walkway and take a look around. At the square are several large stores, and usually some scalpers trying to lure you into one of them. Many , often elderly , Men offer their Rickshaw for a drive-around. The street is usually bustling with life, and many shoppers, foreign or not, pass by. The shops at the square offer Peking Opera Masks, small landscape paintings in tiny flasks, a range of statues and more Traditional Chinese Art. Further on the Street turns sleek again , with many similar looking buildings and stores.
View of Liu Lichang West Street from the Pedestrian Walkway.
Once you have taken in the scenery, and atmosphere .... Make a decision on which way to Go. West are Cathay Bookstore, Guan Fu Zhai Antiques and more. East are the Square with many pleasant shops selling the above mentioned, plus posters, books, paintings, postcards, caligraphy items and tools, red laquer, silk, woodcarvings, seals & chops, and then.. probably even more.
If you decide on West take the Pedestrian Walkway, avoid scalpers and get a nice overview of the whole street scene. If not .. immerse yourself in the stores and surroundings !!
Once you are done you can move ahead from the Square into the sleeker street part.
Street Marker at Liu Lichangstreet and Xinhua Jie
Overview of Square looking East into Liu Lichang Street proper.
Yan Guiping and other stores selling a confusing mix of Art and "Antiques"
Treck slowly down the street from here taking in more scenes and sounds. After a row of similar stores , what follows at Liu Lichang East Street looks somewhat less spectacular then West Street (although with increased cash inflow , situation is improving), however treasures are still ahead. These include a peculiar building once home to the Fire God Shrine of Xuanwu District as well as a small museum dedicated to the Master of Chinese Stone- and Woodcutting Song Tang Zhai.
In the period of the Late Ming and during the entire Qing Dynasty this area of "Hutong" was home to the rich Guilds of Jade, Ivory & stone cutting , and these rich Guilds left their mark also at Liu Lichang Street.
After shopping around , make a soothing Stop at Ten Fu Tea of China's charming Branch at Liu Lichang East Street, or with their competitor next door. At Ten Fu one can warm up on a Cold Day or on hot days get a free taste of Tea to cool down. Pick up some of the Finest Tea's of China, available in wide variety and produced by some of the Finest planteries in China and Taiwan. Ten Fu Tea was an award winner and was presented as one of China's Finest Producers at ASEAN 2002. No doubt they are a Grand National Brand of China.
Ofcourse you can always shop with
the Ten Fu competitor.
Go around this part of Liu Lichang
East Street and find some inner
courtyards housing a school of
Caligraphy or pass through the small decorated Gate and be welcomed by Tibetans, a small group plying a
lucrative trade there. After these
shops the Restored Storefronts seem to Fade away, but keep going to find the former Temple to the Fire God, a small Temple dating back to Reign of Emperor Qianlong during the Ching Dynasty.
Enjoy Ten Fu's rich choice of Finest Tea's and marvel at their Tea Accessories which are often of extra-ordinary design and only
available in limited series. From entire Tea Tables and a variety of cute & interesting Tea Sets as complete as one
wishes to a wide variety of high quality teas, Ten Fu has an eye for even the smallest details. Ten Fu is Tea in Style and nothing less. Even Tea Lessons & Tips are provided at each Branch. One can usually find Ten Fu branches in each major city in China, and Beijing has several.
Overview of Liu Lichang East Street with a view of Ten Fu Branch and Hutong Structures in distance.
Throughout the Ching Dynasty a showcase Shrine of the above mentioned Jade & Ivory cutting Guilds of QianMen , the Fire God Shrine of Xuanwu was initially established by local Police Authorities of which the Fire Department still is a part. The Temple originally was meant as a primitive measure of Fire Protection, raising awareness of fire-danger in the City and appeasing the Fire God by performing rituals. During its later heydays of the Qing Dynasty the Shrine was used as a meeting place for rich traders in Luxury Goods, residing and having business in the Area.
At the beginning of the Lunar New Year (4th to 15th day to be exact) , as part of Celebrations representatives of Guilds and Trades in Fine stone, jade, ivory and other luxury items would meet at the Fire God Shrine and display their goods for Sale. As these mastercraftsmen were supplying often directly to the Imperial Palace , the wealth -->
Tibetan Style Decorated (small) Gate to Tibetan Traders Alley & adjacent Ten Fu Tea of China Branch at Liu Lichang East. Alley leads into Hutong.
At the end of the Street is another Hidden Treasure. Find The Museum to Master Stone- and Wood-Cutter Song Tang Zhai at Number 14. The small private museum is free for viewing, but please be kind. Voluntary donations of a small amount will keep it in operation. Thank You !
In earlier times one could stroll on from Liu Lichang East Street into the historic Hutong of Xuanwu District. A world in itself, the Hutong were a maze of small alleys with stores, homes of the ordinary Beijingers and small factories, seperating Dashilan Street from Liu Lichang. However currently (2006) these area's
An original Source Article on Liu Lichang Street
"Tempting Temples" , Beijing Weekend, November 21-28, 2003 .
Authors - Ed LanFranco, Photo - Fat Rabbit
- Mouse over Image -
Nearby Dashilan, or Big Railings Street, another famous Historic Beijing Shopping Street just a short walk to the East similarly owes its rich history & shops to the same groups & associations of Traders , often in close connection with the Imperial Palace and its Rich Eunuchs. Several Department Stores at Dashilan were owned and opened by Palace Eunuchs, who were among the (corrupt and) super-rich of the Times. Another famous store at Dashilan is Beijing's Tongrentang Medical Store, originally established by an Entrepeneurial Family, the TongRentang.
The exterior of the Fire God Temple at Liu Lichang Street with surounding small shops.
and exquisite quality of materials can only be dreamed of Today.
Find the Fire God Shrine at Number 29, which is some hundred meters distance from the end of Liu Lichang Street. The Temple Building is now in use by the Xuanwu District Writers Association and Cultural relics Bureau. Another part is rented out to the Beijing Shadow Troupe as a practising space. Often no doorman is on watch, and during practice the Temple may not be disturbed, but during other hours the Temple can often be visited for a quick look around.
Nothing of the Temple relics or much else remains inside though.
Liu Lichang Street continues to the East into the historic Hutong and to Dashilan Street beyond. Sadly, this area of Hutong is scheduled for demolition which had begun in earnest in November 2004. By today, in 2014 the city had doubled in inhabitants from 10 to over 22 million. Thus, in the drive for modernity, better living standards and land speculation, most of the many miles of Beijing Hutong have been replaced with various modern highrises and appartment blocks leaving but a few blocks of Hutong around Dashilar and Liu Lichang Street.
Panorama view of the street crossing with Xinhua Jie and Entrance to Liu Lichang East Street (photo November 2004).
of Hutong, in both the Chongwen- and Xuanwu Districts are being demolished, making way for developments for the Beijing Olympics and the New City planned for 2010 AD. Beginning with Dashilan
West Street in November 2004 and walking on towards Liu Lichang during the spring and summer of 2005, a moonscape was created in the middle of the Xuanwu Hutong, leaving tourists and locals wondering. The Future of this Area is still unclear but the hutong, some of which dating back to the earliest history of the city, are forever gone. It's inhabitants are usually driven from the City.
One of the many colorful painted murals found in- and around the Hutong of Xuanwu District. Such paintings draw attention to issues of personal hygiene, educate on environmental conservation and the like.
Disappear into the Maze of Alley's (hutong) which formed the heart of the Xuanwu District. Some are only decimeters wide.
Away from the cities' main streets life takes a different pace as a woman hangs the wash in a hidden xuanwu alley.
Claustrofobic, yet ? What a thrill ...
- Click and Enter Hutong -
Webstyle produced NavBar
This page was last updated on: June 7, 2017
My Great Web page
Find DrBen and ChinaReport on Facebook with the latest from www.drben.net.