If you are interested in traditional Chinese art, and pay a visit to the cultural street of Liulichang, you cannot miss Rong Bao Zhai, the most historical shop for traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy.
Rong Bao Zhai is the most famous shop in Liulichang with a history of about 300 years. It specializes in authentic works of traditional Chinese art.
According to historical documents, Rong Bao Zhai was established in 1672 (during the Qing Dynasty) under the name Song Zhu Zhai. Its name changed to Rong Bao Zhai in 1894, and has remained so to this day. Rong Bao Zhai became a state-owned enterprise in 1950.
Over the past 300 years or so, Rong Bao Zhai has been enthusiastically endorsed by numerous great Chinese artists, such as Lu Xun, Guo Moruo, Zhang Daqian, Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Qi Gong, etc.
Rong Bao Zhai has inherited and developed the national culture, and enhanced international cultural exchange. It is home to calligraphers, painters and collectors, and it has won great reputation at home and abroad.
Discovering the place
Rong Bao Zhai is a two-story building with the unique features of traditional Chinese architecture. Two boards with horizontal inscriptions hang above the main entrance. They bear three golden characters, Rong Bao Zhai. The first was written by Guo Moruo, the second by Xu Beihong.
Past the main door, a very large inkslab of approximately three meters long lies in the lobby. In the showcase displays, one set of the ¡®four treasures of study¡¯ costs RMB 800; one specially-made paper fan costs RMB 220; one customized paper fans only costs RMB 30; one hand-painted paper fan costs RMB 180.
Prices for Shou Shan stone seals range from RMB 4000 to RMB 100,000; small-sized Chinese paintings cost RMB 50 ~ 300. For example, the famous painting ¡®A Cricket on Cabbage¡¯ by Qi Baishi costs RMB 260, and the painting ¡®Two Running Horses¡¯ by Xu Beihong costs RMB 160.
The reproductions made and sold at Rong Bao Zhai are extremely faithful copies of the originals. It is said that even Qi Baishi couldn¡¯t distinguish between his original and the reproduction made by Rong Bao Zhai.
When you gaze at these paintings, you feel unwilling to move your eyes away. What wonderful gifts or souvenirs they are!
On the second floor, many paintings produced by well-known contemporary artists are on display.
The atmosphere in Rong Bao Zhai is very quiet. You can enjoy the treasures in ease and peace.
The layout of the shop
Rong Bao Zhai is divided out in two wings, East and West.
Central Hall on F1: Paints, Red Ink Pastes, stationery.
East Hall on F1: Watercolor Block Printing, Mounting Paintings, Famous Inkslabs, Stone Seals, Seal Cutting.
West Hall on F1: Writing Brushes, Rice Papers, China Ink, Handicrafts.
Gallery on F2: Original Painting & Calligraphic Works.
F1: Paints for Western Paintings, Painting Tools, Paintings, Prints, Watercolor Paintings, Painting Albums, Painting Books, Copybooks for Calligraphy, Processing Frames.
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