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Lao She’s “Red Persimmon Courtyard”

Lao She (1899-1966), styled Sheyu, original name Shu Qingchun, was Chinese play wright and author of humorous. He has a tremendous influence upon my life in many aspects. It was my third time to visit his house in my Beijing Xian tour. Descent in NO. 8, Xiaoyangjia hutong at the western intersection of the Huguosi Street in Xicheng District in Beijing. His father, a guard soldier on the Qianmen tower gate, was wounded and missing in a battle during the Boxer Uprising. There is a Naizifu Street to the west of the north entrance of the Wangfujing Commercial Street. Since the Ming Dynasty, a large scaled “Naizifu (breast milk courtyard) was built on the north of the street, today’s No.5 Courtyard on the west street of the Dengshikou Intersection. In ancient times, four times each year, the imperial court would select 20 healthy, married, and pretty breastfeeding young women to reside here to supply human milk to the emptor and his families. In April 1950, Lao She obtained 500 US dollars of royalty from his American publishing agent and bought a 400-square courtyard at the No.10 (today’s N o. 19), Fengfu hutong on the Naizira Street. In late fall, me persimmon trees were studded with golden red fruits. Lao She lived here for 16 years. On August 24, 1966, Lao She walked to the banks of the Taiping Lake west to the Jishmtao Pool and sat the for a whole day, holding the copied book of the Mao Zedong’ s Poems in his hand. At twilight, the silhouette of the west mountain became blurred. After placing his pen, g1asses, and cane on the bank, Lao She walked step by slop into me water. His mother also died in a small courtyard beside the Taiping Lake. A few day’s latter after his mother’s death, he traveled Xian to drain the sadness away.  On the same day next year, on the grassy slope of the Taiping Lake, painter Xu Lintun (literary name Ink Splashing Old Man) secretly up a 63. 3 cm-high white marble stele, on which he inscribed characters in Weibei style: “Death place of people’s artist Lao She.” The stele disappeared years ago.

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