Shi Family Courtyard is situated in Yangliuqing Ancient Town of Xiqing District, which is the former residence of Shi Yuanshi, the 4th son of Shi Wancheng, one of the eight great masters in Tianjin. The Shi family was one of the eight most famous and powerful families in Tianjin in the late Qing Dynasty.
Many of the rooms feature period furniture, paintings and calligraphy, and the extensive Shifu Garden. Stands as a surpringly well-preserved monument to China’s pre-revolution mercantile spirit, it serves as an on-location shoot for many of China’s popular historical dramas.
First built in 1875, Shi Courtyard covers over 6,000 square meters, including large and small yards and over 200 folk houses. The Shi family first became rich through trading grain and cotton, using the canal transportation that was popular at that time. They made enough money to buy land and build their own houses. Then they opened shops, factories and private banks to multiply their wealth. The family lived in Yang Liu Qing for over 200 years. During the reign of Emperor Jia Qing, the Shi family owned thousands of hectares of land and 500 houses. Shifu Garden, which finished its expansion in October 2003, covers 1,200 square meters, incorporates the elegance of imperial garden and delicacy of south garden. Now the courtyard of Shi family covers about 10,000 square meters, which is called the first mansion in North China. The residence is symmetric based on the axis formed by a passage way in the middle, on which there are four archways. The rooms on north side were the accountants’ office. On the east side of the courtyard, there are traditional single-story houses with rows of rooms around the four sides, which was once the living area for the Shi Family. There are the accountant rooms, waiting room, the study, rooms for other female members of a family. Now here displays Yangliuqing, clay carvings, wood carvings, brick carvings and Tianjin folk artifact, very interesting. While on the west side, there are the major constructions including the family hall for worshiping Buddha, grand hall for the reception room and theater. Compared with the buildings in the east side, the material of construction here is more elegant with more sophisticated workmanship. Large theater here is spacious and ornate, which can accommodate for 200 people, is the largest theater among many residential houses. On both sides of the residence are side yard rooms for maids and servants.
Now Shi Courtyard is served as the folk custom museum in Yangliuqing, which has a large collection of folk custom museum in Yanliuqing, which has a large collection of folk art pieces like Yanliuqing New Year pictures, brick sculpture. It is a worthwhile visit for tourists, and those generally interested in pre-revolution Chinese history and culture – a touch far from the city, an hour or mores travel. Then spend an enjoyable 2 hours on a self-tour of the grounds.
【How to get there】: Take Bus No.153, 158, 175, 672. From Tianjin west train station, take bus 153 directly. A taxi from Tianjin should cost around RMB 80 each way