An Open Book of Old Bei­jing

Beijing (English) - - CON­TENTS -

Yan­jing su­ishiji ( An­nual Cus­toms and Fes­ti­vals in Pek­ing) writ­ten by Fucha Dun­chong (1852–1924) re­counts old cus­toms, de­scrib­ing Bei­jingers' daily ac­tiv­i­ties in fes­ti­vals.

Dur­ing the Guangxu pe­riod (1875–1908) of the Qing Dy­nasty (1644–1911), a Manchu of­fi­cial in the Min­istry of War wrote an en­thralling book about the an­nual cus­toms of Bei­jing en­ti­tled Yan­jing su­ishi ji ( An­nual Cus­toms and Fes­ti­vals in Pek­ing). First block­printed by Wen­dezhai, a print­ing house at Li­ulichang (a cul­tural street in Bei­jing), the book caused an in­stant sen­sa­tion in the cap­i­tal, and dur­ing the Repub­lic of China (1912–1949) pe­riod it was trans­lated into English and Ja­pa­nese. Its au­thor, Fucha Dun­chong (1852–1924), there­fore be­came well known.

The Au­thor’s Life

Fucha Dun­chong, a na­tive of Bei­jing, was born in Tieshizi Lane (now Zhang Zizhong Road) in 1855. His fam­ily be­longed to the Xianghuang Ban­ner of Manchuria; his fa­ther Fucha Chengzhi was an im­pe­rial body­guard.

In 1875, Fucha Dun­chong started to sit for the im­pe­rial ex­am­i­na­tions every year, but he failed each time. In 1882, be­cause one of his rel­a­tives served as the proc­tor, he was not al­lowed to take the exam.

Later, ac­cord­ing to the com­mon prac­tice of the Eight Ban­ners (mil­i­tary di­vi­sions un­der the

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