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Guesthouse offers space to learn heritage

By CHEN HONG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-23 00:00
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The boutique guesthouse Land of Arts and Crafts, located in an ancient village in a western suburb of Beijing, provides a unique experience to explore the historical legacy and beauty of liuli — or colored glaze.

It has been part of a newly launched cultural and creative industry park focused on the inheritance of the traditional liuli craftsmanship, a national-level intangible cultural heritage item.

The park was created from a former royal kiln site at Liuliqu village of Mentougou district that produced liuli titles and other glassware to decorate a large number of imperial buildings, including the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, in ancient times.

Beginning in the 13th century, the kilns continued to serve contemporary buildings and provided liuli materials for the restoration of ancient buildings, but had to stop operating a decade ago due to reduced orders and environmental pollution.

In a move by Beijing to revive traditional liuli production techniques, the kilns were reignited in February, making it the first intangible cultural heritage park in the capital to revive ancient production functions, for example, providing replacement glassware for ancient buildings.

It also functions as an exhibition and experience site in Beijing for people to get close to intangible cultural heritage and carry on the tradition by joining workshops and study camps. The site is equipped with fine restaurants, a cafe, bookstores and the boutique guesthouse.

"We are investing approximately 190 million yuan ($26.2 million) to carry out new plans and a comprehensive transformation of the original old liuli kiln area," said Jiang Yingwu, chairman of Beijing BBMG Corporation, according to a report by Chinese-language newspaper People's Daily.

The State-owned company, which is engaged in the production of building materials and property development and management, is in charge of the revamp of the industry park.

As the reputation of the park grows, an increasing number of guests choose the Land of Arts and Crafts to spend a weekend.

The guesthouse was constructed upon the remnants of the ancient kiln site, blending traditional features with contemporary design elements.

With a total floor area of 3,500 square meters, the Lands of Arts and Crafts possesses 20 fine designed rooms, each with its own courtyard, surrounded by gardens. The decoration of the gardens changes each season, according to different themes and styles to meet the various demands of guests.

The rooms, mostly in a loft layout with areas ranging from 40-110 sq m, are decorated with works by domestic contemporary artists. Some are equipped with a hot spring in the room, while others feature tatami and soaking tubs.

According to the guesthouse, it plans to be the first art-themed parent-child inn in Beijing, a place where children can learn about liuli production, experience the charm of the glassware and have a good time with their parents.

To allow this, the guesthouse has arranged a floor for kids to play and have fun, and a mini-library with a skylight. It has collaborated with children's picture book publishers nationwide to supply the mini-library.

Meanwhile, the guesthouse is to host a variety of art season events for parent-child interaction, providing families with a unique art experience and allowing children to appreciate art in a joyful atmosphere.

They can also discover fun at the industry park, which has been positioned as a museum of liuli and a youth inheritance activity base for intangible cultural heritage.

"Let the cultural relics stored in museums, the heritage displayed on the vast land, and the words written in ancient books come alive. The rekindling of the kiln fires of the millennium-old kilns in the western outskirts of Beijing is an example of bringing cultural relics to life," said Shan Jixiang, president of the Chinese Society of Cultural Relics, People's Daily reported.



Land of Arts and Crafts in a western suburb of Beijing. CHINA DAILY



A guest room at Land of Arts and Crafts. CHINA DAILY



A collection displayed at a museum in the guesthouse. CHINA DAILY



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