Life in China (Beijing) - Liulichang Culture Street

Liulichang Culture StreetLocated in the southwestern part of the city, Liulichang is a traditional market of old and rare books, antiques, paintings, calligraphy and arts & crafts. It is one of two streets that still keep the appearance of a Qing Dynasty market street (the other is Suzhou Street in the Summer Palace, mainly for show purposes). Those who love antiques or arts and crafts will find it a really nice place to shop, and those who are not planning on spending money may also find it worth going to have a look at the street and architecture.
What to see
Rongbaozhai and China Bookshop: The most famous shop in the Liulichang Street of Chinese Culture is Rongbaozhai Bookshop. Built in the early years of Qing Dynasty, it now particularly sells authentic calligraphy and paintings of both ancient and modern authors in China. It is also well-known for an expert copy technique; the products from this method cannot be easily distinguished from the original. Another also reputed across the country is the China Bookshop, where you can buy block-printed editions and hand-copied books of the ancient times.
Guanfu Classic Art 

Museum: As the first private museum in our country, it was opened in 1997, with displays of about 50 porcelains from the late Ming Dynasty as well as old-fashioned furniture, carpets and costumes and others of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. There you can not only appreciate the art works but also feel the history better.
Beijing Opera Remains: Liulichang Street of Chinese Culture also had often been selected as the platform for the performance of Beijing Opera. These show buildings and assembly halls now become a bright sight of the culture of this street. This soil has nurtured many opera superstars such as the well-known Mei Lanfang, around here 

you can still find the former residence relics of some of them.Changdian and Haiwangcun Park

Changdian and Haiwangcun Park: The noisiest place you may find in the Liulichang Street of Chinese Culture is Changdian in the south of the street. Since the Ming Dynasty, a large temple fair had been held for the first 16 days of the Spring Festival (Lunar Jan.1 - Jan.16). It became a custom to stroll in the fair during the Spring Festival in Beijing. Now, this characteristic festival has been resumed after many years' decline since the end of Qing Dynasty. There is still another line of scenery in this area. Beside a branch shop of China Bookshop is the old relics of Haiwangcun Park. Built in 1917, it was the center of bazaar and the busiest place in Changdian. Many kinds of trades were carried out here such as the metallic works, stones and curios, calligraphy, painting, photography and musical instruments. The park was also decorated with many spectacular buildings like water features, pavilions and stone carving arches. The reconstruction of the relics of the park is presently at work.
What to do
Apart from buying, judging if an antique is real for fake is also a favorable thing for some beijingers to do. You don't have to buy anything, just walk around and learn some culture from it, listen to some old people tell stories about some little stuff like a pair of chop stick, a piece of wood or an stained bowl.
Tips: Real antiques are supposed to have a red official seal that proves their authenticity, but, sometimes, real items are not marked and faked items are. Do not worry if an item is fake or not. Many of the things on sale are not real antiques. On the other hand, recently a 50,000-year-old fossil was confiscated from one of the sellers there. The fossil was on sale for about US$150, so you never know.
Here it is best to bargain down a price to a figure you can accept and go for it. Small jade articles and silver trinkets make great presents for people at home and they are easy to take on an airplane.