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construction Qianmen neighborhood gate

Rebuilding Qianmen 前门改造

June 6th, 2008

Within the building site the modesty wall takes on its normal and more functional form. Peaking above the wall in the early morning light is a freshly painted neighborhood gate. Many neighborhoods have gates in China. They are symbols of belonging, community, and pride. Families would live in neighborhoods for 3 or 4 hundred years.

That seems inconceivable to an American, but Chinese cities developed differently than did American or even European cities. They had a strong socio-political function that was passed on from dynasty to dynasty. Those functions maintained a social order that continued to be served by the residents of the city. No matter what the dynasty, they still needed crockery, armory, knives, and clothing. The city dwellers just changed the style a bit and settled in to do business.

China Index >> History of Beijing in Pictures >> Qianmen Dashila (Dazhalan) Hutong History

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Last update: August 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009