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About Beijing Courtyard And Hutong     (8/3/2008 12:21:41 AM)

This is a typical Beijing-styled Siheyuan meaning a courtyard house, which is the basic unit of the “hutong” and one of the most emblematic forms of traditional Chinese architecture.

“Hutong” has record that in the 12th century A.D. when the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234 A.D) had capital here called Zhongdu, streets and lanes appeared, but not “hutongs”. In 1276 A.D. in the Yuan Dadu – the capital city was built thronged with officials and nobles. Residential houses were set up for high ranking officials (usually a compound with a courtyard with one-story houses) side by side. Each courtyard house accommodated a single family. Small alleys that run between courtyards home for proper draught and daylight were earliest “hutongs”.


The word “hutong” originates from the word “hottog” which means “well” in Mongolian. There were 29 “hutongs” at the time. Most of the “hutongs” remained today were built in the Ming (1368-1644 A.D.) and Qing Dynasty (1636-1912 A.D.) resulted from block extension of the imperial city. The “Zhuanta Hutong” in Xisi on the west side of the city was once mentioned in the Yuan dramas popularized in 14th century A.D… It used to be the residential house for the noted playwright Guan Hanqing, -China’s Shakespeare of the Yuan dynasty.


Ok, that was a long story……


In 2005, a guy named Michael came to Beijing from Long Island of New York, he is very interested in these old stories and old houses, so he rented this courtyard house and waiting here to tell you those stories……













Copyright by Michaelí»s House Beijing 2008

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