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April 8, 2010

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Xintiandi's Shikumen Wulixiang Introduction

SHANGHAI'S shikumen houses - shikumen literally meaning "stone gate" - are the southern counterpart to Beijing's four-sided, enclosed courtyard, hutong. The two are truly unique in China in that they both represent the essence of their cities.

Prior to the earliest shikumen houses that emerged in Shanghai during the 1870s to play home to nuclear families, Chinese people were oblivious to such a singular mode of living. Up to that point, theirs had been a communal life spent among large, extended, close-knit families. However, with the introduction of the shikumen structures, influenced by Western-style row houses, lilong (lanes and alleys) - or longtang in Shanghai dialect - became the most prominent residential way of life in Shanghai.

As the main form of Shanghai housing for more than a century, the shikumen is largely the by-product of dense urban living and the demand for a more economical utilization of space. Even today, some 2 million Shanghai residents still live in shikumen communities.

Wulixiang means "home" in Shanghai dialect.

Wulixiang - Shikumen Open House in Xintiandi presents an authentic recreation of a typical shikumen house and generates a great deal of sentimental feelings among local visitors who have strong memories of shikumen life in Shanghai.

Journey back to old Shanghai as you stroll among the city's signature shikumen architecture, basking in the memories of city's magnificent 1920s.

Open: Sundays-Thursdays, 10:30am-10:30pm;

Fridays-Saturdays, 11am-11pm

Admission: 20 yuan for adults, 10 yuan for senior citizens aged 60 or above and children between three-12 years old

Address: Bldg 25, 181 Taicang Rd

Tel: 3307-0337

Shikumen Resident Drawing Exhibition 2010.4.1-4.30

This exhibition presents a number of works created by He Youzhi, one of the art masters in China. They vividly illustrate the traditional professions in Shanghai, as well as their lives and culture.


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