Heritage Trail: Qian Yuan’ensi Hutong 前圆恩寺胡同
Qian Yuan Ensi Hutong runs east and west, connecting South Jiaodaokou and Nanluo Guxiang. To its south lies Qinlao Hutong, and to its north lies Hou Yuan’ensi Hutong. It is 449 meters long and 6 meters wide. The road is paved with asphalt. The street numbers on the north side range from 1 to 37, with an absence of numbers 27 and 29. On the south side the numbers range from 2 to 30 with an absence of 10, 24 and 28. The alley used to belong to Zhaohui Jingong administrative area (fang) during the Ming Dynasty and was called Yuan Ensi Hutong. During the Qing Dynasty it fell under the jurisdiction of the Bordered Yellow Banner, and was renamed Qian Yuan Ensi Hutong during the Qianlong Era and simply Qian Yuan Ensi during the Xuantong Era. It underwent several more name changes in until 1979, when the name was changed permanently to Qian Yuan Ensi Hutong. Yuan En Temple was located at the current number 5 courtyard, although today one can only find the former east side room.
According to Beijing Wenwu Shengji Daquan, Yuan En Temple was located on the north and east side of Qian Yuan Ensi Hutong at former number 2 (current number 5). Historical records in the Rixia jiu wenkao testify to its existence further, stating “Yuan En Temple is located at Yuan Ensi Hutong, at which location one can find two weathered stone tablets that are now difficult to read. To the temple’s west lay Guangci Convent, whose own stone tablets refer to a neighboring Yuan En Temple”. Finally, the Qing Chongxiu Yuan’ensi Beiji comments on the temple’s renovation, stating that it was repaired in 1883, the ninth year of the Guangxu Emperor.
Based on the records found in Beijing Wenwu Shengji Daquan, Guangci Convent was located at former number 7, and was built in the year 1617 by Ming Dynasty eunuch Liu Wenbi. It was subsequently repaired in 1848 during the twenty-ninth year of the Daoguang Emperor.
Beijing Bianlan notes that during the Republican Era, Jingshi Public Elementary School (formerly Bordered Yellow Banner Academy) could once be found here, stretching into Qian Yuan Ensi Hutong from neighboring Hou Yuan Ensi Hutong.
According to Daoxian yilai chaoye zaji, Qing Dynasty chief justice (dalisi qing) Gui Xian made his home in Qian Yuan Ensi Hutong.
Zhong Jianwei, Beijing shi Dongcheng qu diming zhi
Yao Zhuxuan, Beijing Bianlan
Dongcheng District Culture and Cultural Heritage Bureau (Dongcheng qu wenhua wenwu ju), Beijing wenwu shengji daquan
Yu Minzhong, Rixia jiu wenkao
Chong Yi, Daoxian yilai chaoye zaji