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Heritage Trail project

Suoyi Hutong 蓑衣胡同

Suoyi Hutong runs from east to west. It begins at Nanluoguxiang in the east and connects with Fuxiang Hutong to the south at its west end. Yu’er Hutong is located to the north. It is 295 meters in length and 3 meters in width. Odd address numbers range from 3 to 33, and even address numbers range from 2 to 14. It was formerly part of the Zhaohuijinggong District (Fang) in the Ming dynasty and was called Shayisi Hutong, named after the famous Shayi temple (shayi si). In the reign of Xuantong in the Qing dynasty, the area was called Suoyi Hutong, and the name remained during the Republican period. It underwent several names changes, ultimately reverting back to “Suoyi Hutong” in 1979.

According to historical records in “A Collection of Districts, Alleys, and Hutong in five squares” (Wu cheng fang xiang hutong ji), the Zhaohui District (Fang) and Jinggong District (Fang) were located to the east of Beianmen. There were 40 shops and several temples including Yuan’en temple, Fuxiang temple, and Shayi temple.

According to the “Records of districts and alleys in Beijing” (Jing shi fang xiang zhi gao), a “Shayi temple” was established in the area but the name “Shayi” was mistakenly pronounced as “Suoyi” by people in old times, and so the hutong was called “Suoyi” after the temple.

Suoyi Hutong at its narrowest section

Suoyi Hutong at its narrowest section

The Residence of Puren (No.2 Suoyi Hutong)

This residence belongs to the family of Puren’s second wife, Zhang Maoying. She was the daughter of the celebrated collector of cultural relics, Zhang Shucheng. The house is comprised of a front courtyard and a back courtyard. The front yard is mainly used for storage while the principal room in the back yard is Puren’s residence.

Aisin Gioro Puren (1918- ), also known as Jin Youzhi, is the younger brother of the last emperor of the Qing dynasty, Aisin Gioro Puyi. He was born in the Prince Chun Palace (now known as Soong Ching-ling’s residence) in Shichahai, Beijing. Puren lived with Prince Chun (Zai Feng) and began his education in Chinese classics, literature and painting when he was very young. He established the public Beijing Jingye Primary School in the Prince Chun Palace in 1947, with his father’s support.  He, his father and his sister served as the headmaster, Chief executive, and the teacher respectively. After the liberation of China in 1949, he donated the school to the government and remained there as a teacher until 1988 when he retired. He dedicated half of his life to Chinese education and after that he devoted himself to studying the Qing dynasty. He has published “The Life, Study and Martial Arts Practicing of Princes in the Late Qing Dynasty”, Nananxingde, with his poems collection Tongzhitang Ji, “Culinary Traditions and Medical Treatment in Princely Palaces of the Late Qing Dynasty,” and “Memoirs of Prince Chun Palace” etc. He also edited his father’s works such as “The Diaries of Shide”. Mr. Puren was elected successively to be a deputy to the National People’s Congress of Xicheng district, a member to the Political Consultative Conference of the district, and a member of the Beijing 7th, 8th, and 9th Political Consultative Conference. In 1994, he was appointed by the Beijing Municipal government as a member of the Central Research Institute of Culture and History.

References:

Zhong Jianwei, Dongcheng Diming zhi (Dongcheng Gazetteer of Place Names)

Li Tiesheng, Zhang Endong, Nanluoguxiang Shihua (Histories of Nanluoguxiang)

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