During 600 years’ development, Dashilar area has always been the most bustling place of old Beijing, with business prospered and shops gathered. It was the place where ancient mint and banks gathered. There were also Liuli Chang Cultural Street, the representative of scholar culture, numerous religious temples, newspaper and publishing houses, guild halls and former residence of celebrities. Meanwhile, as the famous place for theaters and the location of Eight Hutongs for brothels, Dashilar area was where entertainment places clustered. As business thrived, local architecture developed. Buildings in different styles of the Ming, the Qing and the Republic of China witnessed rise and decline, joys and sorrows, and separation and reunion in this area. Till today, many historic buildings were well preserved, becoming the living fossils of Beiing's history.
Establishedby the Ministry of Commerce of the Qing Government in 1905, Beijing IndustrialExhibition Center (Jingshi Quangong Chenlie Suo) was the official venue for theexhibition and selling of industrial and craft products. Located at LangfangToutiao, it was burnt down for three times. In 1923, the center wasreconstructed and reopened at the original site. Lasted till today, it hasbecome the former site of today’s Quanye Chang. As the name implies, QuanyeChang means 'working hard and promoting industry' and it wasbasically a department store. According to historical records, there used to beover one hundred stalls, selling food, clothes and other articles. Besides,there were cinema, theater, ballroom and pool room in the building, makingQuanye Chang the most prosperous shopping center with combined functions ofcommerce, catering and entertainment. In 1995, former site of Quanye Chang waslisted as a cultural relic under the protection of Beijing Municipality. In2006, as part of 'Dashilar Commercial Buildings', Quanye Chang wasregistered as one of the sixth batch of national cultural relic protectionunits.
Beijing Mayinglong Eye Medicine is aTCM system of long history, including powder for external use and oral pill,with significant effects for many eye diseases.
It is said that in the reign of MingEmperor Wanli, Ma Jingbiao of Dingzhou established Ma’s Eye Medicine, apredecessor of Mayinglong Eye Medicine. In the end of Qing dynasty, Ma Wanxing,an offspring of Ma’s, inherited the business and named it after his father MaYinglong following the tradition. In 1875 (the first year of the reign of QingEmperor Guangxu), he moved the business from Dingzhou to Beijing and opened aBeijing Mayinglong Eye Medicine Store at Xiheyan of Qianmen. When his third sonMa Liting became the inheritor, he broke the tradition and decided to useMayinglong brand from generation to generation. Also by setting up branches andpost delivery, he distributed Mayinglong eye medicine to many provinces of thecountry and took the lead to export TCM to abroad. Up to now, the site ofBeijing Mayinglong Eye Medicine Store, at the side door of No.3 Manjia Lane,Xiheyan, Qianmen, is a most detailed evidence of this culture heritage.
In 2011, with approval of XichengDistrict Government, Beijing Mayinglong Eye Medicine technique has beenselected into the 3rd batch of intangible culture heritage protection projects.
LiangShizheng （1697-1763）, otherwise known as Yangzhong, wasborn in Qiantang (today’s Hangzhou). During the reign of Emperor Yong Zheng, Liang became a scholar. In thereign of Emperor Qian Long, he became a fellow in the Hanlin academy andadvocated diligence in politics. His works, such as Shi Yin Ji, are still remembered today. On the third year ofEmperor Qian Long's reign (1738), the emperor bequeathed Liang Shizheng withthis residence, which was known as the “Qing Qin Tang” (Hall of Integrity andDiligence). The former residence has two courtyards and two pathways. Though itis difficult to discern the original look of the house, the courtyards and somerooms are still representative of the Ming and early Qing Dynasty. Yangmeizhu No. 25 is now a common residenceand is recognized as a protected historical building.
QiuShengrong (1915-1971), son of Qiu Guixian who is famous for playing the role ofJing in Peking Opera. He learned from his father since childhood and joined FuLian Cheng Ban, the most prestigious school for Peking Opera. He played therole of Gong Tongchui that emphasizes singing in opera as well as the role ofthe painted face that emphasizes performing. Since Qiu Shengrong knew the basictechniques very well, he was good at both lines and martial performance. Hisaction was free and natural and performance was subtle and wonderful. Learningwildly from others’ strong points, he explored his own artisticcharacteristics. He combined his father's smoothness, Jin Shaoshan's wildness,Hao Shouchen's boldness, Hou Xirui's forcefulness, techniques of Lao Sheng (thecharacter of an old man) and Qing Yi (the character of a middle-aged woman)with his own singing. With resonance of mouth and nose, he skillfully dealtwith phonation and tone, creating Qiu style which had beautiful tunes andlingering charm. He advanced the artistic performance of the painted face,leaving great influence on the performance of Jing character.
Locatedat No. 215, Xiheyan, Qianmen, former residence of Qiu Shengrong stretched 13.5meters from east to west and 21.1 meters from south to north, covering an areaof 277 sqm. There were 14 rooms in the courtyard. In the southern part of theyard, there were five rooms, including the room of the gate. There were alsofive rooms in the north with front porch. On the east and west side, there wereeach two wing rooms with terracotta roof tiles.
AfterQiu's death, his family lived in the residence. Now it has been sold.
Located at the east side of the middle part of Shaanxi Xiang, ShaanxiXiang teahouse (Yunji Ban) was built during the late Ming and early Qingperiods, originally a brothel. It is said that the teahouse was former site ofYunji Ban where the famous prostitute Xiao Fengxian was during the early yearsof the Republic of China.
The facade of the building was simple, there were three rooms in the west facade. The two roomsin the first floor in the north had arched doors and the room in the north hadan arched window. Over the southern entrance was a board, and the words on itcannot be recognized. There was no window in the second floor, which met theactual demand at that time.
ZhongyuanStock Exchange, otherwise named Beijing Stock Exchange, is located at No.196Xiheyan, Qianmen. Filed with Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, the stockexchange was established on the initiative of Wang Jingfang and Yue Rongkan onJune 5th, 1918, becoming the first one established by Chinese. Around 1918,with the increasing trading of government bonds and other securities, the stockexchange emerged, but it was closed in 1948.
Formersite of Zhongyuan Stock Exchange is seated to the south and faced the north.The length from east to west is 16 meters and 33 meters from south to north.The two-storey building is a brick-wood structure, and the roof is supported bya triangle truss. The north and south parts of the building are of the samelayout. The five rooms in the front part of the building were office area.
Theopened five rooms in the center of the building were used as business hall. Onthe second floor, there was gallery over the main hall, and around the gallerywere small business offices. In the middle was the patio connecting two floors,and on top of the patio covered triangle truss as the ceiling. There werewindows on both sides of the ceiling. The facade was covered by grey bricks. Onthe first floor of the side elevation was a clerestory, and on the second floorwas a rectangular window with iron guard bars on the below. The north facade ofthe building faced to the street. There were five rooms with pedestal andcornice line on the wall. On the pilaster was horny line. There was only onedoor in the middle room on the first floor, and other rooms were with windows.On top of the door was parapet with plaster flowers and plants. As for theinterior decoration, the stair railing was of western style, but the partitionboards and the decorations of the lintel were of Chinese style. The buildingadopted traditional Chinese architectural style and absorbed western style,which demonstrated the architectural style of the period of learning from thewest.
Former residence of Ji Yun (also known as Ji Xiaolan) islocated at No. 241 West Main Street at Zhushikou in Beijing. Itstretched 17.1m from east to west and 41.4m from south to north, covering anarea of 696.4 sqm. There were two yards in the residence. The first yardconsisted of gate, principal rooms and rooms opposite to the principal ones.The main gate was a grand bright gate with five purlins making Chinese gabledroof. The roof was covered by red plain roofing tiles and two sides of the roofwere connected. The three rooms opposite to the principal ones located to thewest of the gate and the gabled roof was also made up of five purlins. WhenGuangan Men Street was being built, the gate and rooms opposite to theprincipal ones were demolished, so the five principal rooms became the oppositerooms of the second yard. In the courtyard, Chaenomeles speciosa (the floweringquince) and wisteria was said to be planted by JiXiaolan himself. The second yard contained five north rooms with five-purlindepth. Three suites with five-purlin depth and a porch were connected. On thegigantic pillars were couplets written by Ji Xiaolan. A horizontal inscribedboard reading 'Yuewei Cottage' was hung over the door of the northroom in the original east courtyard of Yuewei Cottage, but later it was takenaway by people working in Zhili Guild Hall. Currently, the writing is preserved in China Bookstore. Now the boardreading 'Former Site of Yuewei Cottage' was written by contemporarycalligrapher Qi Gong.
The two big crabapple trees in the yard were also said tobe planted by Ji Xiaolan himself. One of the trees was cut down during theCultural Revolution. The one on the east side survived and flourished. In theearly days, there were east and west wing rooms on the west side, connectedwith north and south rooms by galleries, but later they were reconstructed.
It was originally the residence of Yue Zhongqi,the minister of defence and general governor of Shanxi and Gansu provinceduring the reign of Emperor Yongzheng. After Ji Xiaolan's death, hisdescendants rented half of the mansion complex out to Huang Antao, ajinshi scholar, Hanlin scholar and poet, like Ji Yun. After that, the residencehas changed hands many times. Liu Shaobai, an official of BeiyangGovernment, once lived here, at that time, the residence was called Liu'sMansion. Mei Lanfang and Yu Shuyan also once established the NationalOpera Association and the Spreading and Learning Site of National Opera here.In the 1950s, it became a Communist Party school in Xuanwu District,Beijing. After 1958, a Shanxi cuisine restaurant, namely Jinyang Restaurantopened for business.
Wudao Temple waslocated at the north of the intersection of five roads – Yingtao Xiejie, TieshuXiejie, Hanjia Hutong, Wudao Jie and Tangzi Jie. The temple stretched 30.9mfrom east to west and 35.5m from south to north, covering an area of 468.12sqm.
Located at theintersection of Tieshu and Yingtao Xiejie, the front hall of the temple wasfacing southwest where there was a square. There were three rooms and two gableroofs interconnected with each other, in front of which were suits. The templekept the style of small temples on the junction in the countryside before Ming Dynasty. Behind the hall was a two-storey building inChinese style, which had three rooms in a row. Between the hall and thebuilding was a yard, on both sides of which were side halls. Different fromtemples in the city, the location, layout and style of this temple resembledWudao Temple and Tudi Temple on the intersections of country roads. Accordingto historical records, the earliest Wudao Temple emerged before the middleperiod of Ming Dynasty, located in the countryside of Beijing.
It is called as one-person theatre：Kuide Theatre, anational treasure, intangible cultural heritage, and all type of roles are allin one body. Wherever he goes, the play will follow. When he settles down inthe lane, the play will be there as well.
The earliest Daguanlou Cinema, one of theearliest cinemas in the south side of the city, was called Masiyuan Teahouse.In 1905, the name was changed as Daguanlou, and in 1907, Daguanlou Movie Theater.With gathering shops and convenient transportation, Qianmen Street in oldBeijing enjoyed unique human environment of commercial area, which gave birthto unique business and folk culture. This also made Qianmen Street anentertainment center for ordinary people in old Beijing. Daguanlou emerged anddeveloped in such an environment. It was reported that the first movie screenedin this cinema was a foreign one – TheLeper Girl, which attracted quite a large audience.
At that time, Ren Jingfeng, the operator ofDaguanlou Movie Theater, bought a wooden hand cinecamera which was made inFrance and 40 films in Qi Luofu Foreign Firm, which specialized in photographicequipment on Dongjiao minxiang. Since then, he started photography business.The first movie he shot was Dingjun Mountain, stared by the famous Peking Operaperformer Tan Xinpei. Mr. Tan was 60 at that time and was “the King of PekingOpera”, so the movie had a great influence. When it was screened, all peoplewent to see it. Gradually, Daguanlou Cinema was known by more and more people.
In the early years, Daguanlou Cinemascreened Lady Mengjiang and The Perfect Beauty stared by Hu Die; West Chamber and Stars Moving around the Moon stared by Zhou Xuan; Sunrise, Love and Duty, and GirlMaster stared by Yuan Meiyun;The LivingBuddha Jigong stared by You Guangzhao, etc. Other movies such as Visiting Shanghai after Sixty Years, Four Concubines, Yang Silang Visits His Mother, TheWealthy Woman, Prince Nezha’s TriumphAgainst Dragon King, The Burning ofRed Lotus Temple etc. were also screened.
Zhengyici PekingOpera Theater was located at No. 220 Xiheyan Street, Qianmen.
Zhengyici alsonamed Yinhao Guild, meaning the guild of bankers. It was an organizationestablished by merchants in the financial industry for their own socialconnections and interests. They worshipped Zhao Gongming as their god, callinghim 'the God of Wealth'. Zhengyi was from the sacred name of ZhaoGongming.
Well preserved, the former layout of Zhengyici and the PekingOpera Theater still existed. There was a broken stone tablet whose inscriptionwas still recognizable. Zhengyici Peking Opera Theater was used by the guesthouse of Education Bureau of Beijing. After the renovation at the beginning of1990s, the theater resumed its opera and other folk art performance. Later, itwas under the administration of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture. Now it hasbeen listed as a cultural relic under the protection of Beijing Municipality.
Temple of God ofFire, Liulichang was located at No.29 Liulichang East Road, spanning 42m fromsouth to north and 42m from east to west.
The year it wasbuilt was unknown. According to Rixia Jiuwen Kao, a book recording historicaldata, the temple was renovated in the 41th year of the reign of EmperorQianlong (1776), and three mainhalls, three front halls, fifteen east wing halls, three west wing halls and three eastverandas were renovated. The main hall was seated to the north and facingsouth. On each side of the main hall, there werethree small rooms with porch. The two wing rooms contained three rooms eachwith five-purlin depth. There were also three opposite rooms with five-purlindepth. On the west side of the temple, there was a row of traditional single-storeyhouse, which was living room in the temple. The buildings of Temple of God of Firewere covered with black bricks. On the gable roof, there were Wenshou, a sacredcreature in ancient China. Below the eaves, Suzhou style paintings werepainted. The layout of the temple was neat and the building was of highquality.
There were many bookstores in Liulichang. The bookstoreswere most afraid of fire, so the superstitious worshipped God of Fire to avoidfire, and this was how Temple of God of Fire emerged. In the old days, from thefourth day to the fifteenth day of the lunar month, the antique shops ofLiulichang and Langfang Toutiao sold painting and calligraphy, copybook forcalligraphy, jewelry and jade, so it was also calledcultural market. In 1924, on the initiative of Yuan Youtang, Temple of God ofFire was repaired with the donated money. Tinplate awning and mobile booth wereset. The front hall has been rebuilt, and the back hall and wing hall werereserved. Temple of God of Fire was a cultural relic under the protection ofXuanwu District.
The predecessor of Beijing Liyuan Guild was BeijingLiyuan Public Welfare Guild, which wasestablished on the initiative of 50 people, including Xu Deyi, Hao Shouchen,Hou Xirui, Ye Chunshan, Zhu Wenying, Wang Changlin and Wang Qinnong. The Public Welfare Guild replaced Zhengle Public welfare Guild, and the sitewas moved to No.34 Yingtao Xiejie.In 1936, Beijingauthority ordered to disaggregate the guild on the excuse of lack ofregistration. In July of the same year, Beijing Liyuan Guild was established onthe original site, and fifteen people, including Yang Xiaolou, Shang Xiaoyun,Cheng Yanqiu, Mei Lanfang, Xun Huisheng, Yu Shuyan, Yu Lianquan, Gao Qingkui,Ma Lianliang, Tan Fuying, Wang Youchen, etc. were elected as directors. ZhouRuian, Hou Xirui and Cheng Jixian were alternate directors. From JingzhongTemple to Beijing Liyuan Guild, although the name changed, the purpose andguild regulations remained.
Liyuan Guildstretched 27.7m from east to west and 37.9m from south to north, covering anarea of 550.59 sqm. 'New Building of Liyuan' over the door and theboard 'Perpetual Liyuan' were written by Shi Huibao, the famousperformer of Laosheng (character of an old man in Peking Opera). If walls of the courtyard were taken as boundaries, the courtyard stretched34m from south to north and 16m from east to west. It contained two yards.Stepping into the first yard, there were five principal rooms with seven-purlindepth. There were two east wing rooms and two west wing rooms, each withfive-purlin depth. Opposite to the principal ones, there were five rooms withfive-purlin depth and a front porch. The gate on the east side faced the street. Five principal rooms withfive-purlin depth and a front porch were in the second yard. There was a wingroom with five-purlin depth on each side.
Former Residence of Tan Xinpei was located at No.1Dawailangying Hutong, also named “Yingxiu Tang”. The courtyard was seatedtoward the west and facing the east, with over 30m from east to west and 21mfrom south to north, covering an area of 781.51 sqm. The front part wascourtyard and the back part consisted of buildings. The front part containedtwo yards. The gate and three north rooms were in the first yard. The secondyard was a courtyard with each three rooms on the north and south side. The north rooms were in the middlewith five-purlin depth. The gable roof was decorated with lantern frames. Therewere each two wing rooms on the east and west side and the depth of the westones was only three purlins. The back part consisted of north and south roomsand a two-storey building. A gateway which faced TieshuXiejie ran through the north and south rooms, three on each side. In the yard,three buildings which were brick-wood structures seated on the west, south and north side. The buildings withgable roofs were all covered with tiles on the facade. Two buildings wereconnected by a grand porch.
Qianmen Mosque is located at No.9 Yangwei Hutong.According to Records of Shuntian of theReign of Guanxu, “there is a mosque for the Hui people in Yangrou Hutong(today’s Yaowu Hutong)”. There is no clear record for the time it was firstbuilt, but it is said that the mosque was built in the late Ming Dynasty. Overthe stone lintel of engraved “Muslim Mosque” and below said renovated in the 19thyear of Emperor Kangxi (1680) and in the 60th year of Emperor Qianlong (1795),so it was built by no later than the beginning of Qing Dynasty.
The mosque is well preserved, covering 63.2m from east towest, 38.9m from south to north and a total area of 1490.32 sqm. There are twocourtyards and the gate of the mosque is facing the east. On both sides of thegate, there are corner gates, and the north one is where people get access tothe mosque. The front yard is narrow and long, and to its south is thebathroom. The west building in the square back yard is the hall for religious service on Sunday. The hall contains three rooms, connectingthree yards to the west and reaching the hexagonal hall. There are other roomson both sides of the service hall. In the early years, a gate of the mosque wason Tiaozhou Hutong, so it was called Tiaozhou Hutong Mosque.
Qianmen Mosque is the largest hall for religious serviceof Muslim in Qianmen area. In the old days, the mosque had great influenceamong shops ran by the Hui people. Unfortunately, during the CulturalRevolution, the mosque was occupied and religious activities were stopped. Theplace was repurposed as manufacturing plant of Dashilar Bookbindery. After theCultural Revolution, religious policies were reintroduced and religiousfunction of the mosque was restored.
Guizi Temple，formerly known as the Wen Chang Temple, islocated at No.19 Yingtao Xiejie and No.18 Yingtao Hutong. At the end of Qing Dynasty, it was commonpractice for temples to bought by commercial entities and renovated for newcommercial use. Guizi temple itself became the Guild of the Peiping EngravingIndustry in 1897. According to the Record of Renovation found in Wen ChangTemple, generally, commercial entities who have acquired temples preserved allmemorial tablets as a symbol of respect. Engravers slightly renovated theformer Guizi Temple and it reads “it is a courtesy to erect the scarificationtablet for the incumbent emperor (Emperor Wen Chang); the memorial tablets for theformer emperors are kept as they are”.
Today’s GuiziTemple takes a triangular shape and has been severely renovated and demolished.
The World Book Company Limited was established in 1917 inShanghai. In 1924, World Book began publishing textbooks for primary and middleschools, becoming one of the top national publishing houses along with theCommercial Press and the Zhonghua Book Company. At its peak, World Bookdistributed 5580 different publications in various categories throughout China.In February 1950 World Book closed its operations at No. 75 Yangmeizhu Xiejie,with the two-storey wood and brick structure eventually being repurposed asresidential units.
Youxi Guild (theguild for Hunan province) was formerly located at No.59&61 of YangmeizhuXiejie. The guild was founded in the 13th year of Emperor Tong Zhi's reignin the Qing Dynasty (1874) and was purchased with donations from fellows of theYouxi Guild who were also officials in Beijing. According to the record, in1922, the writer Shen Congwen, at the age of 20 came from Xiangxi (West Hunan)and lived in Youxi Guild for as long as half a year.
The guild housemeasures 23.8m from east to west and 30m from north to south and covers an areaof 431.26 sqm.
Founded in 1918, Qingyun Ge was one of the mostcomprehensive retail, hospitality, and entertainment venues of its day.Reputable throughout Beijing was the “Spring of Jade Teapot” teahouse, becominga favorite gathering point for Beijing’s intelligentsia. Lu Xun, one of theleading figures of modern Chinese literature, frequented the teahouse whist aliving at the Shaoxing Guild House. The three story traditional brick andtimber structure enclosed on four sides with rooms opening towards a centralinterior atrium, brightly lit through large clerestory windows. Unusually, Thecomplex does not have any significant street frontage; instead pathways extendnorth and south to connect with both Yangmeizhu Xie Jie and Dashilar Xi Jierespectively. The entrance on Yangmeizhu Xie Jie retains its original façadeand door with its name plaque still visible above the threshold. Qingyun Ge isnow used as a hotel and is a registered cultural relic under the protection ofXi Cheng District Government.
DongshengpingBathhouse is located at No.6 Yangmeizhu Xiejie and was “the best bathhouse inBeijing” during the Republic of China (1912-1949). The bathhouse was originallya Chinese-style building of three story built with wood and brick. The bathingfacilities were said to be clean and well equipped, with hospitable servicewhich even included delicate pastries. According to the book Beijing Travelogue of Fancy Stories, itsays “Sheng Ping Yuan is the tidiest bathhouse and first of its kind. Itsinterior is in good order, and its exterior is beautiful. Such exquisite designrefreshes the eyes.”
In the period ofthe People’s Liberation War (1945-1949), the bathhouse was used as a meetingpoint for underground revolutionaries from the Beijing Municipal Committee ofCPC. Dongshengping Bathhouse is now used as a hotel.
Taifenglourestaurant first opened during the early reign of Emperor Guang Xu during theQing Dynasty (1875). The restaurant served mainly Shandong cuisine and alsoprovided accommodation and entertainment. Taifenglou was regarded as one of thebest restaurants in Beijing. During the period of the Republic of China,political statesmen and renowned figures from various sectors regularlygathered here. The architecture had featured blue bricks, pillars,arch gate, and parapet walls. The rear building, which used toconsist of wood and brick, was designed in the Western style andwas common in the late Qing Dynasty. The restaurant was closed in 1952 andreopened in 1984. The site is a registered cultural relic under the protectionof Xi Cheng District Government.
Xidan Hotel,located at No.11 Yingtao Xie Jie, was founded in the 1940s. The tablet abovethe front gate was inscribed by the famous calligrapher Zhang Boying in 1944 atthe end of Qing Dynasty. The building is a two storey wood and brick structure.In plan, the Hotel resembles a square embedded in another square much like theChinese character “回”. In the middle of the main building, there is a patio in the atrium,surrounded by rooms on four sides. In addition, it has a west wing. The atriumshares spacious room, with simple and neat interior and well kept decorativedetails. The exterior has been modified, the Chinese style facade outside thegate sharply contrast against the original stark style. However, one can stillgather the original design of the hotel, which dates back to the period ofRepublic of China. Until now, it is still a prominent hotel, and recognized asa protected historical building.
Guanyin Templeis located at Guanyin Temple Street, a junction of three roads – DashilarXijie, Yingtao Xiejie and Tieshu Xiejie. The temple was thought to be built nolater than the late Ming Dynasty and renovated during the reign of EmperorQianlong. Over the lintel of the gate is “Huguo Guanyin Temple”. It is animportant area of west Dashilar Street. During the Republic of China, withshops on both sides of the street, Guanyin Temple Street was an important partof key business area in Dashilar. Restricted by the terrain, the layout of thetemple is trapezoid with a distance of 60.1m from east to west. Distance fromsouth to north varies with its widest point 29.7m and narrowest point only 12m.The temple covers an area of 940 sqm.