September 24, 2013
The history of Liulichang can be traced back to Liao Period (907-1125) when it was a small village. And in Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368), a kiln was established here focusing on making glazed tiles, which later became one of the official Five Kilns in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). When Ming rulers began to build their palaces in Beijing, a large number of the glazed materials were produced in this kiln. During the Jiajing period (1507-1567) when the government built the outer city, the kiln was relocated but the name Liulichang was passed down to this day.
In Qing Dynasty (1636-1911), most of Han officials were lived around Liulichang; soon, it became a gathering place for guilds of provinces and candidates from all parts of the country. Consequently, many famous book shops moved into this area; new bookstores and stationery shops also opened one after another. Before long, Liulichang had become the largest book fair in Beijing as well as the favorite haunt for scholars, painters and calligraphers. During the Republic of China (1912-1949), Liulichang was a popular pastime and treasure discovery site for scholars and celebrities.
Some original shops have been restored and the current Liulichang has been expanded to be a pedestrian street. It has a rich collection of Chinese folk arts and cultural products, tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty, carpets, vases, scrolls, chopsticks, silks, ancient shoes, Chinese kites, swords, walking sticks, door knockers, Buddhist statuaries, classical paintings, calligraphy, books, brushes, inks, etc. On Liulichang, some stores have remained unchanged since Qianlong Period in architectural style and business, while some established in modern time were also preserved; one of the most famed is the Rongbaozhai with a history of over 200 years. It now specializes in reproductions of Chinese paintings. Traditional teahouses, wine shops, and many restaurants also can be found on Liulichang Street.