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Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) is a small grassroots, legally-registered NGO working to protect cultural heritage across China.

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Heritage Trail project

Qiangulouyuan Hutong 前鼓楼苑胡同

Qiangulouyuan Hutong


Qiangulouyuan Hutong runs east to west. It starts at Nanluoguxiang in the east, and ends at Nanxiawazi Hutong in the west. It is 261 meters in length, and 6 meters in width. The house numbers on one side ranges from 1 to 19, while on the other side range from 2 to 14. In the Ming Dynasty, it belonged to the Zhaohuijinggong District, and was called Gulao Hutong because it was a home for the elderly (gulao meaning old).  In the Qing Dynasty, it belonged to the Bordered Yellow Banner, and was called Qiangulou yuan , during the Qianlong Period.  During the Xuantong Period, the name was changed to Qiangulouyuan. This name remained for a short period of time after the founding of the PRC.  Afterwards, its name changed several times, until it regained its former name in 1979.  Now the No.8 and No. 9 courtyards are Cultural Heritage Protection Sites, while the others are mostly residences

No.8 and No. 9 Qiangulouyuan Hutong:

These courtyards were built at the end of the Qing Dynasty, and are now private residential buildings.  The residence was divided into three courtyards, oriented from north facing south. Preserved buildings include a Manzi Gate, located in the southeast corner of the courtyard with a Yingshan style roof.  Inside the gate, there is a sheltering wall. The first courtyard features a seven-hall reversely-set wing, and a Yidian Yijuan style Chuihua Gate to the north. Looking at the both sides, you can see that there are patterns in the tile and carving of the characters “Fu” and “Shou.” However, both of characters are now difficult to distinguish. The second yard has five rooms in the north wing with a covered walkway at the front and back of the yard. There are two side rooms attached to the north wing. There are east and west wings of three rooms each on the east and west. A sideroom attaches to each of the rooms at the south. A covered walkway links the rooms in the four directions. All the roofs of the rooms in the second yard are Yingshan style, and there are qiaoti between the pillars in the central bay. In the third yard, there are seven rooms behind the main rooms, of which the roofs are Yingshan style.

The courtyard’s layout is quite precise and the buildings exquisite.  It is a typical medium-sized traditional courtyard in Beijing, and was well protected. This courtyard was announced as a Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Site on March 8th, 2001.

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Heritage Trail Project Update

As the winter chill sets in, our dedicated team of volunteers has nearly finished photographing each hutong in the Nanluoguxiang area as part of Phase 2 of our Heritage Trail Project.  We have also collected historical information from various sources for each hutong in the district and have used the photographs to create “elevations” of the entire length of each hutong.  The goal of this is to have a record of the preservation condition of the hutongs to serve as a benchmark for future preservation efforts.

We are now in the process of developing our first in-depth bilingual brochure/map to the Nanluoguxiang area, detailing historic sights, interesting stories, and other information that will allow visitors and residents to form a deeper connection to Beijing’s hutongs.  We hope to launch this by the spring, and eventually we will be developing in-depth heritage trail guides and an interactive website for several districts in Beijing’s old city.

Visit the Heritage Trail page for the latest updates!

Looking for Old Photos of Nanluoguxiang!

As part of the Heritage Trail Project Phase II, CHP is now collecting old photographs from the Nanluoguxiang area. If you have any photographs that you think may be relevant, please contact us by calling 64036532 or by sending us an email at info@bjchp.org.  Many thanks for your support!

CHP Hosts “Sunny Shadows” Family Event

On November 19, Beijing children and their parents gathered at the Shichahai Shadow Puppet Performance Hotel for CHP’s second “Sunny Shadows” cultural heritage education event for families.

Before the performance, volunteers gave an introduction to the history of shadow puppetry in China and the story behind the performance, the Chinese folk legend “the turtle and the crane”. The children watched with wide eyes at the performance, quietly and earnestly following the puppets, a very cute sight indeed.

Kids watch the show with rapt attention!

Kids watch the show with rapt attention!

Afterwards, children who correctly answered questions about the performance were given a special gift: their very own mini shadow puppet dragon!

After their outstanding performance, Georgia and Ella (the little hosts of the program) earned their CHP volunteer credentials. After the performance, adults and children alike went behind the scenes to see how the puppets work and try their hand at puppetry. There was much laughter and warmth; in addition to experiencing the joy and charm of shadow puppetry, guests met new friends, and everyone enjoyed the warm and vibrant atmoshphere.

Performers explain the art of shadow puppetry

Performers explain the art of shadow puppetry

CHP will be honored if more people are able to understand and appreciate Chinese traditional shadow art, and CHP believes the next event will be even more successful!.

We would especially like to thank the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel, the shadow puppeteers for their wonderful performance, and hotel marketing director Samantha Fang for her support and assistance!

And a big thanks to our volunteers:

陈灿 Chen Can
曾进 Zeng Jin
王建明 (James)
胡晨 Hu Chen
冯美湘 ( Katy)
李烁 Li Shuo
杜安卓 (Andrew)
鲍威 Bao Wei
焦阳 Zhao Yang
齐政 Qi Zheng

Shajing Hutong 沙井胡同

Exterior of 17 Shajing Hutong

Exterior of 17 Shajing Hutong


Shajing Hutong runs east-west, with a bend in the west section, Nanluoguxiang in the East, just southwest of Nanchiwazi Hutong, and to the north of Jingyang Hutong, to the south of Heizhima Hutong.  The entire length of the hutong is 294 meters, the average width 6 meters, the addresses on the two sides run from 3-31 and 2-26, missing number 1.  In the Ming dynasty it was part of Zhaohui Jing Gong Fang, an administrative area, and was called Shajiajing Hutong, or the Sha Family Well Hutong.  During the Qing dynasty it fell under the control of the Bordered Yellow Banner.  During the reign of Qianlong it had the same name, but during the time of Emperor Xuantong (Puyi) the alley was known as Shajing Hutong and this name has remained until today.

Kun Chui Old Residence (15 Shajing Hutong)

Shajing Hutong addresses 15,17,and 19 were all once part of one big courtyard residence.  Originally, number 17 was the main central gate of the residence, and this courtyard the central courtyard of the mansion.  The courtyard was divided into east, central, and western parts, the current number 15 was the east courtyard of the mansion.  The buildings preserved today include a south-facing courtyard with three entrances.  Inside, facing the main gate, is a Suishan screen wall, and the first courtyard has a principal wing of 5 rooms, of the Yingshan style.  The north building of the second courtyard is divided into three rooms, one of which is an entry hall. A gallery wraps around the two courtyards. There is one hall with a Chuihua gate, that separates it from the third courtyard.  The third courtyard has a north wing of three rooms, a front porch behind the building, the two sides each have a small wing room, and the east and west wings each have three rooms.  The courtyard is surrounded by a uniformly-designed verandah.   The last courtyard’s rear “cover room” has another entrance onto Heizhima Hutong. The buildings here are all Yingshan style with “dragon-ridge roofing”.  During the Republic Period, the German Painting Academy was located here, and after the founding of the PRC in 1949 it became the Beijing People’s Art Pavilion.  It has since been occupied by the Beijing Art Academy.

15 Shajing Courtyard, main entrance to former residence of Kui Chen

15 Shajing Courtyard, main entrance to former residence of Kun Chui

Works Cited

Zhong, Jianwei (Beijing Dongcheng Gazetteer of Place Names)

Beijing City Cultural Heritage  Dongcheng District Cultural Heritage Volume

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