Step Back in Time
Liulichang Jie. This sweet street of restored houses is firmly on the tourist map, but it’s where locals go for traditional art supplies and well worth a visit, especially if you have any interest in architecture, calligraphy and painting. Have your taxi drop you at the intersection of Nanxinhua Jie & Liulichang Jie /南新華街及琉璃廠街交界. Take the West option (Liulichang Xi Jie) for art supplies, papercuts and etchings at historic #34 Cathay Bookstore (go upstairs). Over the street, check out the giant inkstone at #19-1 Rong Bao Zhai, a gallery carrying art materials and pricey inks for carved chops. #52-1 has quality handmade shadow puppets and rice paper by the ream, which is great for wrapping. After a while this street becomes knick-knacky, so retrace over the pedestrian walkway to the East end (Liulichang Dong Jie) for terracotta warrior replicas at #134, Xu Bu’s delicate inside-painted snuff bottle artistry at #99, and a fab line in calligraphy with handmade brushes at the #71 and #73 teashop. Detour left down Dong Bei Yuan Hutong between #65 and #67, and look for the misspelled ‘selleng carpet’ sign at #54 for antique Mongolian/tibetan coverings. Back on the main drag, #28 has elegant celadon teapots and vases. At the end of the street, either head left for more old Beijing wanderings, or go right and then left for Yangmeizhu Jie and the covet-worthy #62 Ubi Gallery (see Standout Stores).