Shi Family Courtyard Residence

Admission:

RMB 20

Hours:

9am-4:30pm

How to get there:

From Tianjin west train station, take bus 153 directly. A taxi from Tianjin should cost around RMB 80 each way.

The Shi Family Courtyard Residence (Tiānjīn Shí Jiā Dà Yuàn, 天津石家大院) is a monument to the wealth of the merchant Shi clan, one of 19th-century Tianjin's pre-eminent famlies. Completed in 1875 by Shi Yuanshi, the fourth son of one of the "eight masters of Tianjin," Shi Wancheng, the network of stone and brick courtyards and buildings includes a theater and over 275 rooms that served as apartments and places of business and worship for this powerful family.

Today, the Shi mansion, located in the township of Yangliuqing to the west of central Tianjin, stands as a surpringly well-preserved monument to China's pre-revolution mercantile spirit. It also serves as an on-location shoot for many of China's popular historical dramas, so if you catch sight of a familiar courtyard scene on CCTV a few days after your visit, don't be surprised. Many of the rooms feature period furniture, paintings and calligraphy, and the extensive Shifu Garden.

Part of the complex has been turned into the Yangliuqing Museum, which includes displays focused on symbolic aspects of the courtyards'  construction, local folk art and customs, and traditional period furnishings and crafts.

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