Tianqiao—Originally Civilian Entertainment Place and Commodity Market of Beijing

Tianqiao, Beijing

Photo 1:Tianqiao, Beijing

        During Yuan, Ming and Early Qing dynasties, Tianqiao was once a watery place, a swamp, there is a white marble single hole bridge of the Yuan Dynasty in the center(located in the crossroad in the north of today’s Tianqiao South Street ), it is a must pass when the emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasties offer sacrifice to Heaven, thus it is called “Tianqiao”, and hence the name of the nearby areas.

Meng Xiaodong

Photo 2: Meng Xiaodong, Peking Opera Female Laosheng

        Tianqiao is the birthplace of many folk arts, there are so many folk arts performances. Famous actors such as Peking Opera female Laosheng Meng Xiaodong, Xin Fengxia (Ping Opera) , Hou Baolin (crosstalk), Bao ShanLin (wrestling) and so on once performed in Tianqiao.

Eight Freaks of Tianqiao

Photo 3: One of Eight Freaks of Tianqiao

        Artists make a living as a performer in Tianqiao, usually in the open air, commonly known as “Liao Di”. It is said that at the time the folk arts performers who perform, impart skills, learn skills and live here are as many as five or six hundreds people, they are divided into two categories: rap players and jugglers. The rap includes drama, folk vocal art forms, and the juggling includes acrobatics, martial arts and other kinds. Famous people such as “eight freaks of Tianqiao”, they received the name because of their superior skills and weird words and deeds.

Guo Degang’s Deyun Society

Photo 4:  Guo Degang’s Deyun Society in Tianqiao

Beijing Museum of Natural History

Photo 5: The Beijing Museum of Natural History

        Today, Tianqiao has undergone tremendous changes, a lot of folk vocal art, acrobatics, martial arts artists are still play in the small theaters here, “non-famous crosstalk comedian” Guo Degang’s Deyun Society is right here. The Beijing Museum of Natural History was built in the place where there were food market and grain market. The Tianqiao Theater for modern singing and dancing performances was built in the southwest of Tianqiao.

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