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Liulichang Culture Street

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Liulichang Culture Street

Beijing Liulichang, which is only 750 meters long, is located south of Hepingmen (Peace) Gate within walking distance of the Hepingmen Quanjude Peking Duck Restaurant. Liulichang is known throughout China and the world for its ancient books, calligraphy, paintings, rubbings, ink stones and ink.

It is a bustling commercial district southwest of Tiananmen square that caters mainly to foreign tourists. Liulichang sells everything from the kitsch to the truly collectable. The most common include name chops, scroll paintings, antiques, jade, tea and silk. There are also shops for paper, book binding and the carving of stone tablets.

The most famous of these is Rongbaozhai (Studio of Glorious Treasures), which opened in 1894, has a history of over 200 years. Rongbaozhai serves as a bridge between collectors, and painters and calligraphers. It has collected many precious masterpieces from famous artists throughout China's history.

Rongbaozhai is famous for the technique of woodblock color printing for reproducing ancient paintings. This technique, invented in China, requires very specialized skills. When reproducing a 4-meter-long masterpiece by Gu Hongzhong, painted in the Five Dynasties period (907-960), the staff of Rongbaozhai first drew 1,667 sample pictures and then carved 1,667 wooden boards. It took them eight years to reproduce more than 30 copies of the masterpiece, which can hardly be distinguished from the original.

In May 2005, the technique of woodblock color painting was listed in the first group of national intangible cultural heritage items with the approval of the State Council.

Liulichang street is a mixture of state-run and privately owned shops and you should definitely bargain before making purchases. If you're looking for souvenir gifts for your friends and family, this is definitely the place to go.

A used bookstore in China, particularly that has foreign language offerings was once a rare thing, but this one also has a curious organizational style. All the foreign-language material is mixed together.

English-language works stand spine-to spine with Russian and German works. Literature shares shelf space with psychology and history.Some of the books are stamped with university library and church seals. Antiques like this, worth a fair amount anywhere, go for no small sum in Liulichang. Good deals may be found among the Chinese books, however. If you are patient and know what you want.

Those who love antiques or arts and crafts will find it an ideal place to shop, and those who re not planning on spending money may also find it worth going to have a look at the street itself.Along the street, peddlers hawk snacks, groceries, toys and copper coins, all kind of small commodities. Merchants race to their doors with a welcoming "hello, hello" for all their customers, but they all rack their brains to attract foreigners' attention.

Some offer free seal-carving services and they even can find a perfect Chinese name for you if you like. Some shop owners invite folk artists to their shops such as an 80-year-old heir to the Qing Dynasty's royal embroidery tradition.

Beijing Liulichang is amazing to watch this elderly man embroider a pair of little shoes for a pair of tiny feet.

Selling: Antiques, Chinese Book, arts and crafts
Admission Fee: Free
Address: Hepingmen Street, Chongwen District, Beijing
Open Time: Daily 9:00am-4:00pm
Phone: 86-10-63173805


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