Bei­jing in a Thou­sand Words

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Png Yu Fung, edited by Mark Zuiderveld

Be it an at­las, a col­lec­tion of stories, his­tor­i­cal anec­dotes or a book on the Olympics, th­ese books over­flow with emo­tions.

With Bei­jing's plethora of end­less cus­toms, scenery, cul­tures and stories yet to be ex­plored, many writ­ers have grav­i­tated to­wards writ­ing the city's ge­neal­ogy. Be it an at­las, a col­lec­tion of stories, his­toric­ity and in­for­ma­tion or a book on the Olympics, th­ese works over­flow with the cap­i­tal's emo­tions.

Bei­jing Lishi Ditu Ji

Gen­er­ally, those in­ter­ested in Bei­jing's his­tory would be keen to read on top­ics re­lated to changes of the cap­i­tal's mu­nic­i­pal ad­min­is­tra­tive area and ur­ban set­tle­ment from the Shang (16th cen­tury–11th cen­tury BC) and Zhou (11th cen­tury–256bc) dy­nas­ties up to the pe­riod of the Re­pub­lic of China (1912–1949), es­pe­cially the de­vel­op­men­tal changes of Bei­jing and its sub­ur­ban ar­eas from the Liao Dy­nasty (AD 916–1125) to 1949.

Bei­jing lishi ditu ji (“Bei­jing his­tory at­las”) re­searched by the late his­tor­i­cal ge­og­ra­pher Hou Ren­zhi and com­piled jointly by Pek­ing Univer­sity and Bei­jing In­sti­tute of Map­ping and Sur­vey­ing has been re­leased. Bei­jing lishi ditu ji dis­cusses city prob­lems in three vol­umes, with the first vol­ume Zhenqu cheng­shi juan (“city ad­min­is­tra­tive di­vi­sion”) pro­vid­ing an­swers.

The sec­ond vol­ume Wen­hua sheng­tai juan (“cul­ture and ecol­ogy”) tells of changes in Bei­jing's nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment since the days of prim­i­tive so­ci­ety, the chang­ing process of the com­po­nent fac­tors of its cli­mate, river sys­tem, for­est veg­e­ta­tion and ma­jor nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. The third vol­ume Ren­wen she­hui juan (“hu­man­i­ties and so­ci­ety”) com­pre­hen­sively presents dif­fer­ent ages of its pop­u­la­tion, res­i­den­tial, in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, eco­nomic, trans­port, mil­i­tary and many other el­e­ments of de­vel­op­ment and changes, as well as cul­tural el­e­ments such as for­mer residences of celebri­ties, palaces, tem­ples and hu­tong. Bei­jing lishi ditu ji con­tains 750,000 words, 460 maps and 100 im­ages of his­tory, doc­u­ment­ing Bei­jing's changes for thou­sands of years and dis­cussing how the cap­i­tal was built.

This at­las presents the land­scape, so­ci­ety, econ­omy and changes of Bei­jing over an his­tor­i­cal time pe­riod. It is con­sid­ered an achieve­ment in ad­vanced sci­en­tific re­search both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

‘Bei­jing­tong’ Cong­shu

We can never get enough of Bei­jing. ‘Bei­jing­tong’ cong­shu (“all about Bei­jing se­ries”) pub­lished by Bei­jing Pub­lish­ing House in­cludes nine books: Lao She jiang Bei­jing (“Lao She on Bei­jing”), Jin Shoushen jiang Bei­jing (“Jin Shoushen on Bei­jing”), Zhang Zhongx­ing jiang Bei­jing (“Zhang

Zhongx­ing on Bei­jing”), Hou Ren­zhi jiang Bei­jing (“Hou Ren­zhi on Bei­jing”), Zhu Ji­a­jin jiang Bei­jing (“Zhu Ji­a­jin on Bei­jing”), Liu Ye­qiu jiang Bei­jing (“Liu Ye­qiu on Bei­jing”), Deng Yunx­i­ang jiang Bei­jing (“Deng Yunx­i­ang on Bei­jing”), Zhao Luo jiang Bei­jing (“Zhao Luo on Bei­jing”) and Ye Zufu jiang Bei­jing (“Ye Zufu on Bei­jing”).

Each of the nine books has its own char­ac­ter­is­tics. Zhao Luo, a lit­er­ary his­to­rian and re­tired an­cient book edi­tor, has worked at Bei­jing Pub­lish­ing House since the 1950s. The seven sec­tions in his book Zhao Luo jiang Bei­jing, “An­cient Cap­i­tal Style,” “Cul­tural Traces,” “Around Scenic Spots,” “Pho­tos of He­roes,” “Ap­pro­pri­a­tion of Lost Prop­erty in An­cient Bei­jing,” “Gar­den Walk” and “Po­etry of Xuan­nan” may ap­pear sim­ple and short, but are deep and pro­found.

In the book Lao She jiang Bei­jing, Lao She in­tro­duces Bei­jing's spring, early sum­mer, early au­tumn and win­ter, places like Gao­liangqiao, Desh­engqiao, Jishui­tan and Xisi­pailou, as well as his fam­ily and friends. Ev­ery char­ac­ter, ob­ject, mat­ter or scene men­tioned in his book guide read­ers to un­der­stand more about the cap­i­tal. Deng Yunx­i­ang writes about Bei­jing in a re­fined nar­ra­tive style, mainly de­scrib­ing cul­tural celebri­ties and cul­tural sites. Ye Zufu in­cludes nu­mer­ous de­tails in his work Ye Zufu jiang Bei­jing and is known as a walk­ing en­cy­clo­pe­dia for anec­dotes, cus­toms and celebri­ties of Bei­jing.

Born and raised in Bei­jing, scholar Liu Ye­qiu has a deep sen­ti­ment to­wards Bei­jing's streets, shops, peo­ple, brick and tile, and ev­ery tree and bush. Writ­ten from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives, his book presents the life and cul­tural land­scape of old Bei­jing so­ci­ety in 26 chap­ters. He also in­cludes his per­sonal ob­ser­va­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences. Hou Ren­zhi, Zhu Ji­a­jin and Zhang Zhongx­ing, all well-versed in lit­er­a­ture and his­tory, are also mas­ters of re­lated re­search. Based on their ex­pe­ri­ences, they're able to nar­rate Bei­jing's his­tory and ge­og­ra­phy, de­scribe cus­toms and record tra­di­tions, all of which have sig­nif­i­cant his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural value.

Win­ter Olympic Cities

In 2022, the 24th Win­ter Olympics will be held jointly in Bei­jing and Zhangji­akou. China has hosted two Olympic com­pe­ti­tions pre­vi­ously, Bei­jing Olympics and Nan­jing Youth Olympics. This is the first time China to host the Win­ter Olympics.

Win­ter Olympic Cities is writ­ten and com­piled by the Bei­jing Olympic City De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion and pub­lished by Bei­jing Pub­lish­ing House. It cov­ers a wide range of top­ics re­lated to Win­ter Olympic cities like Cha­monix, the snowy land­scape of St. Moritz, peach blos­soms in Lake Placid, Garmisch-partenkirchen, Olso, Cortina d'am­pezzo. Writ­ten in an open form, the book draws the out­line of the de­vel­op­ment course of the Win­ter Olympics, show­cas­ing the high­lights of con­struc­tion, splen­did mo­ments dur­ing com­pe­ti­tions and beau­ti­ful view of the cities. By re­view­ing the de­vel­op­ment process of the Win­ter Olympics with the pulse of de­vel­op­ment within the city, the au­thor ex­plores mu­tual re­la­tion­ships be­tween the Win­ter Olympics move­ment and ur­ban de­vel­op­ment, cit­ing ex­am­ples to show how wealth of the Olympic Games play an im­por­tant role in pro­mot­ing ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and pro­gress­ing civil­i­sa­tion.

Olympic City For­ever, the com­pan­ion vol­ume of Win­ter Olympic Cities pub­lished si­mul­ta­ne­ously, is also writ­ten and com­piled by Olympics ex­perts from Bei­jing Olympic Games Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion. The first para­graph of the book reads, “The uni­verse was chaotic and worldly gods ap­peared. The dom­i­nant god, Zeus, who lived on Mount Olym­pus in Greece, gave birth to all things. An­cient Greeks later held sport­ing events at Olympia to wor­ship Zeus. Ac­cord­ing to the myth, both creation of the western world and the ori­gins of the Olympics are set in Greece. From then on, Olympics be­came closely re­lated to the rise and de­cline of Greek his­tory of civil­i­sa­tion.” Us­ing the 20 pre­vi­ous host coun­tries as the thread, the au­thors give an or­derly re­view of the pros­per­ity and de­vel­op­ment of the Olympics from the first Athens Olympic Games in 1896 to the 30th Lon­don Olympic Games in 2012.

Beijing lishi ditu ji (“Beijing his­tory at­las”)

‘Bei­jing­tong’ con­g­shu (“all about Beijing se­ries”)

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