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Hou Yuan’ensi Hutong 后圆恩寺胡同

Introduction

Hou Yuan’ensi Hutong runs east and west, connecting South Jiaodaokou with Nanluo Guxiang. To its south lay Qian Yuan’ensi Hutong, and to its north lay Ju’er Hutong. It is 444 meters in length and 6 meters in width. The street numbers on the north side range from 1 to 21 with an absence of numbers 9 and 11, and range from 2 to 28 on the south side with an absence of 14 and 24. During the Qing Dynasty, Hou Yuan’ensi Hutong fell under the jurisdiction of the Bordered Yellow Banner. It was named Hou Yuan’ensi Hutong during the Qianlong Era, as it was located behind (hou) the Yuan’en Temple (Yuan’en Si). It kept this name during the Republican Era, before undergoing a series of name changes in the following years. These changes would continue until 1979, when it reverted back to Hou Yuan’ensi Hutong. The En Garden (En Yuan) at 7 Hou Yuan’ensi Hutong once served as Chiang Kai-Shek’s headquarters during the Republican Era, as well as the embassy of Yugoslavia after 1949. 13 Hou Yuan’ensi was the former residence of Mao Dun, which became a city level heritage protection site in 1984. Today one can find the Beijing Children’s Art Theatre, Heizhima Hutong Elementary School (East campus), and the China Youth Development Foundation.

Former Residence of Mao Dun (13 Hou Yuan En Si Hutong)

Mao Dun (1896-1981) was the pen name used by Shen Dehong (courtesy name Yanbing), one of 20th century China’s most prominent modernist writers. He was also a noted literary critic, political activist, and social activist. Mao Dun helped pioneer the May Fourth Movement of 1919, and in so doing played a major role in the development of Chinese revolutionary art and literature. Today he is seen as one of the literary giants of his age, enjoying a reputation rivaling those of contemporaries Lu Xun and Guo Moruo.

The quadrangle used to belong to Yang Mingxuan, one of the respected leaders of the Democratic Party and the China Democratic League. It was abandoned after Yang passed away, and became a storage place for the Government Offices Administration of the State Council. Mao Dun moved into this quadrangle in December, 1974 and lived there until March, 1981 when he passed away

The quadrangle has two units with a total area of 878 square meters. There is a pair of rectangular stone blocks in from the gate, whose sides are carved with various flowers. A black marble flat with Deng Yingchao’s golden inscription of ‘the Former Residence of Mao Dun’ was embedded on the screen wall just inside the entrance. And in front it locates a white marble bust of Mao Dun with a height of 83 centimeters, sitting on a black marble pedestal. The front courtyard has three main rooms, three side rooms on the east and the west and six reversely-set rooms. There are also two large Yuanbao Maples and a grape-vine covered trellis inside the courtyard, underneath which are two Chinese rose gardens. The west side rooms were used to store Mao Dun’s book collections – thousands of books were neatly arranged on five bookshelves. Some of the translation works from the 20s and the 30s are now the only editions left.  On the left side of the library building is a small meeting room for guests.  On the floor is a large sofa, four smaller sofas, a long tea table and two smaller tea tables

Former Residence of Chiang Kai-Shek (7 Hou Yuan En Si Hutong)

During the Qing Dynasty, this courtyard belonged to Zaibu, second son of Prince Yi Kuang and the great-great-grandson of the Qianlong Emperor. Throughout his life he received numerous titles and promotions, becoming both general and prince over the years stretching from 1850 to 1906. It has been said that Zaibu was the most playful and easygoing of his brothers. As a young man he married a woman named Hong Baobao. In order to win her heart he built this mansion according to her tastes, fusing eastern and western influences. In later years, after losing all of his money to gambling, he had no choice but to mortgage off the mansion to settle his debts. The mansion would then change hands yet again, becoming the office headquarters of a prewar Sino-French joint enterprise.

Following his victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan, Chiang Kai-Shek took a liking to the courtyard and purchased it for himself. Renovating it extensively, he turned into his family mansion. His relatives continued living there even though the capital had since moved to Nanjing, and Chiang himself lived there when visiting Beijing on official business. During the Liaoshen Campaign of the Chinese Civil War, Chiang used the mansion to hold meetings with his top generals.

Sources

Beijing Dongcheng Gazetteer of Place Names,  Beijing Shi Dongcheng Qu Diming Zhi

Beijing City Dongcheng District Government Records Beijing Shi Dongcheng Qu Minzheng Fupian

Dongcheng District Ministry of Cultural Heritage Records Dongcheng Qu Wenwu Ju Pian

Houyuan’ensi Hutong: The History that has Happened Here  Houyuan’ensi Hutong: lishi de yunpu zai zheli jingguo


Bust of Mao Dun at the famous author's old residence

Bust of Mao Dun at the famous author's old residence

The Author Mao Dun

The Author Mao Dun

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