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Liulichang (simplified Chinese: 琉璃厂; traditional Chinese: 琉璃廠; pinyin: Liúlíchǎng) is a district in downtown Beijing that is known for a series of traditional Chinese stone dwellings housing selling various craftwork, artistry, and antiques. It is one of Beijing's traditional old quarters.
The name Liulichang dates back to the Ming dynasty, when a renowned coloured glaze factory called "Liulichang" was in production on this street, which made glazed tiles for the palaces, temples and residences of the officials.
According to local legend, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, Liulichang was a favourite haunt for scholars, painters and calligraphers who gathered there to write, compile and purchase books, as well as to paint and compose poetry. By the Kangxi era (1661-1722) of the Qing dynasty, Liulichang had become one of the most flourishing cultural centres in all of Beijing.
Large scale renovations in modern time have transformed this place into an antique market that resembles a Chinese village. The many shops located on the street are filled with a variety of Chinese folk arts such paintings, calligraphy, pottery, carpets, vases, books, scrolls and chops.
Today the street is a mixture of state-run and privately owned shops and customers are recommended by shopowners to bargain before making purchases. There are also traditional teahouses and wineshops, as well as many restaurants.
It is a popular destination for tourists who wish to experience the commercial aspect of popular Chinese folk artwork in Beijing without the bustling traffic.
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