Skip to content
Site Tools
Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color blue color green color
Home Travel in Beijing Liu Li Chang Cultural Street
Liu Li Chang Cultural Street
Travel in Beijing


If you have a favor with curios, calligraphy, painting or other artwork in China, Liulichang Street of Chinese Culture is a must when you travel in Beijing. 

 Origin of the Name
altEarly in the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), the original place of today's Liu li chang ( Liú lí chǎng 琉璃厂 ) was called Haiwang Village, an 800-meter-long street was located in the suburban area of Beijing. Up until the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), a court porcelain kiln was built here to produce Liu li wa (glazed tiles). When the inner city of Beijing was being built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the scale of the court porcelain kiln was largely extended, becoming one of the five major factories of the Ming government. When the outer city of Beijing was built in the 32nd year of the Jiajing Reign, or 1554 in the Gregorian Calendar, the site of the factory became part of the downtown area. The glazed tiles ceased to be produced in the area and the factory was moved to the Liuliqu Village in the Mentougou District, but the name Liu li chang remained.

 Rongbaozhai and China Bookshop

The most famous shop in the Liulichang Street of Chinese Culture is Rongbaozhai ( Róngbǎozhaī 荣宝斋 ) Bookshop. Built in the early years of Qing Dynasty, it now particularly sells authentic calligraphy and paintings of both ancient and modern authors in China. It is also well-known for an expert copy technique; the products from this method cannot be easily distiguished from the original. Another also reputed across the country is the China Bookshop, where you can buy block-printed editions and hand-copied books of the ancient times.

Yide Ge : Chinese Ink

"Yi De Ge" ( Yi De Ge 一得阁 ) is famous for producing ink and it already has a history of over 100 years. During the reign of Emperor Tongzhi in Qing Dynasty, a literator named Xie Songdai from Anhui province went to Beijing to take the imperial examinations but failed. In his opinion, it took him too much time in rubbing the ink stick, which made him have fewer time to finish the examinations. At that time, Xie Songdai thought that it would be so convenient if a kind of ink with which to write directly could be produced. The whole world would benefit from it. After lots of experiments, he finally made a kind of ink with the same writing results as ink stick with lampblack and other auxiliary materials. The ink won great popularity among poets and literary men instantly after its launch. In the fourth year of the reign of Emperor Tongzhi in Qing Dynasty, Xie Songdai set up the first Chinese ink production store with the name of "Yi De Ge" in Beijing in No. 44, Liu Li Chang. The tablet hung on the front door of the store was written by Xie Songdai himself. This is the history of "Yi De Ge" ink.

Seal cutting
altAs an art form born out of the combination of calligraphy (mainly seal script) and carving, Chinese seal cutting ( Zhuàn Kè 篆刻 )was once listed -- along with calligraphy, painting and poetry -- as one of the four essential skills required of an ancient scholar. A seal in red on a calligraphic work or a painting represents not only a signature, but also an indispensable touch to liven it up. The materials for seals vary with different types of owners. Average persons normally have wood, stone or horn seals, whereas noted public figures would probably prefer seals made of red stained Changhua stone, jade, agate, crystal, ivory and other more valuable materials. Monarchs in the old days used gold or the most precious stones to make their imperial or royal seals. Today, Chinese government offices at lower levels still use wood seals. Seals cut as artworks should excel in three aspects-- altcalligraphy ( Shū Fǎ 书法 ), composition and the engraver's handwork. The artist must be good at writing various styles of the Chinese script. He should know how to arrange within a limited space a number of characters -- some compact with many strokes and others sketchy with very few -- to achieve a vigorous or graceful effect. He should also be familiar with the various materials -- stone, brass or ivory -- so that he may apply the cutting knife with the right exertion, technique and even rhythm. To watch a master engraver at work is like to see a delightful stage performance.

 Guyi Zhai ( Gǔ yì Zhaī 古艺斋 ) alt

 Brushes and Inkstone alt

The Beijing Municipal government has planned to invest much capital in the repair of the Liulichang Street of Chinese Culture. It is expected to be the earliest, largest and most aesthetic collection place of artware and a good tourist choice for the appreciation of the ancient Beijing.


                                ( Click above picture to view the map )              

Address                South of the Peace Gate of Xuanwu District in Beijing
Tel                        +86 10 8119 1011
Opening Hours      Varies depending on store.
Admission Fee        Free
Routes                  Bus Routes: 14, 15, 16, 25, 45 or take subway line 2 and get out at the 
                             stop of Peace Gate (Heping Men)