There is a place you should visit when you come to Beijing: West Liulichang Street, a venue famous for Chinese painting and calligraphy.
A bit of history
During the Yuan Dynasty, the local government begun to build kilns and burn for glazed tiles. The place got its name ¡ª Liulichang ¡ª from its specialty: Colored Glaze Plant. Liulichang has a long history of 700~800 years, and is regarded today as a fine example of the distinct regional and cultural features of Beijing.
West Liulichang Street
Liulichang Street is 790 meters long. It is divided into two sections by South Xinhua Avenue.
The section named West Liulichang Street is 340 meters long. The other section is named East Liulichang Street.
All the shops on West Liulichang Street are in traditional Chinese styles that make you feel like you were in ancient times.
Hua Xia Painting & Calligraphy Society
At the entrance of West Liulichang Street, the first shop greeting you is Hua Xia Painting and Calligraphy Society.
On the first floor, there are the Chinese four treasures of study (writing brush, inkstick, inkslab and paper), Chinese paintings and calligraphic works, China seals, cloisonn¨¦, lacquers and handicrafts on sale.
As to prices, writing brushes range from RMB 6~430£»paintings from RMB 300~32,000; Shou Shan stone seals (a translucent stone found at Shoushan, Fujian province, highly prized as a material for seals) cost RMB 20; a seal with your name on it costs RMB 60.
On the second floor, Zhao Hua Art Gallery holds a paintings exhibition. Visitors may not take photos.
Hucksters in the street place reproductions of paintings and calligraphic works on the ground, and try to coax passersby into purchasing.
A reproduction of calligraphic work only costs RMB 10, and repros of paintings range from RMB 50 to RMB 150. These can make a good souvenir or gift.
Other shops, small and famous
The street counts other famous shops, such as China Bookstore, Hong Bao Tang, Rong Bao Zhai, etc.
There are many small shops at the end of West Liulichang Street, which sell miniature engravings (RMB 60~80), China seals, artifacts, ancient coins, pottery, porcelain, cloisonn¨¦, jade ware, wood ware, tea-things, hand-painted fans, etc.
Liulichang Street embodies traditional Chinese art. Its long history and interesting sights make it worth visiting, even if you don¡¯t buy anything.
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