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Heritage Trail project

Heritage Trail: Shoubi Hutong 寿比胡同

Shoubi Hutong

An introduction

Shoubi Hutong sits at the northwest of Nanluoguxiang, running predominantly east to west. It begins on the east at South Jiaodaokou, curving west and north to its end at North Gulou Street.  It also connects with Ju’er Hutong via a path at its south. The entire hutong extends 360 meters long and 2 meters wide. Courtyards on the north number from 1 to 35 with an absence of number 29 and courtyards on the south number from 2 to 6.

During the Ming Dynasty, the hutong belonged to the Zhaohui Jingong administrative area (fang). At that time, the western end was called Choupi Hutong (meaning “smelly leather”), so named after a tannery that once stood there. As for the eastern end, it was called Suning Mansion (Suning Fu). It served as the residence of Wei Liangqing, count of Suning County (modern day Hebei Province) and nephew of Ming Dynasty eunuch Wei Zhongxian.

Shoubi Hutong

After the establishment of the Qing Dynasty, the area fell under the jurisdiction of the Bordered Yellow Banner. During the reign of Emperor Qianlong, the alley’s eastern end changed its name to Suining Mansion, although the name returned to Suning Mansion during the reign of the Xuantong Emperor.

By 1947, the western end had officially become Shoubi Hutong, and in 1965 – following a name-tidying campaign – both the west and east ends were combined under the name Jiaodaokou Nantoutiao. Several other name changes followed until 1979, when the entire alley was collectively termed Shoubi Hutong.

Shoubi Hutong

According to literary records (Tianzhiouwen/An Historical Record of Beijing)  Jiaodaokou West was the home of the Suning Mansion, and Count Wei Liangqing of the Ming dynasty made the mansion his residence.  Until the present, the large stone lions in front of the house still remain, and one cannot doubt they will remain for a long time hereafter.

Li Dingyi in the Interesting History of the Republican Era also noted of the courtyard, “after criminals were tied and executed by mob squads outside Deshengmen, the bodies were taken to this courtyard in the Suning Mansion hutong near Andingmen”.

According to the records of the Beijing Temple Historical Material, Dabei Temple (Niseng Temple) was located somewhere near Shoubi Hutong number 19, and was founded in the Ming Dynasty.

According to The Qianlong-Era Map of Beijing (Qing Dynasty), Shoubi Hutong was also home to two nunneries: “Ersheng” Nunnery and “Jinqi Nunnery”.

Works cited:

Tianzhiouwen/An Historical Record of Beijing

Li Dingyi, Interesting History of the Republican Era

Beijing Temple Historical Material

Qianlong-Era Map

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