The Shi Family Courtyard is located in Yangliuqing Town, about 16 kilometers away from Tianjin city. Built in 1875, the courtyard was originally the residence of the Shi Family, which was one of the eight prominent families of Tianjin in the ancient times. The Shi Family got rich by doing the grain and cotton trade along the Grand Canal. They took advantage of convenient canal transportation. The Shi Family made enough money to buy land and build their own houses. They subsequently opened up shops, factories and private banks to multiply their wealth. During the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (1760 – 1820), the family owned thousands of hectares of land and 500 houses.
Why the Shi Family Courtyard is special
The Shi Family Courtyard covers an area of more than 6,000 square meters, including 12 quadrangle courtyards with over 200 folk houses, and a few additional elegant gardens. The courtyard features Chinese buildings, furniture, paintings and garden which display local folk art, customs and traditional furnishings and crafts.
Shi Family Courtyard highlights
The residence is based on the axis formed by a passage way in the middle, on which there are four archways. 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. The rooms on north side were the accountants' office. On the west are the major constructions including the family hall for worshiping Buddha, theater and the south reception room. On both sides of the residence are side yard rooms for maids and servants. Shifu Garden, covers 1,200 square meters, incorporates the elegance of imperial garden and delicacy of south garden.
Today, part of the buildings has been turned into the Yangliuqing Museum. The museum boasts more than 600 pieces of Yangliuqing woodblock prints, over 10,000 New Year pictures collected since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and more than 6,400 pieces of painting plates.