An Open Book of Old Beijing
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