The Songtang Museum is the life’s work of one Li Songtang, a Cultural Revolution survivor who, since returning to Beijing after a punitive decade working the land, has dedicated himself to salvaging remnants of buildings from construction sites – protecting pieces of the city’s architectural history from the merciless Government wrecking balls. In this small, 200-year-old courtyard house, Manchu hitching posts are displayed next to stone Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) gates. Not to mention an impressively huge collection of ornate wooden carvings from across numerous dynasties that, together, comprise a wonderful hodgepodge of architectural styles. The 50RMB admission may seem steep considering its size, but this non-profit museum is worthy of any support it gets.
Estimated time 30 minutes.
Don’t miss The adjoining room, which houses a stunning collection of beautiful porcelain (50RMB additional fee); dozens of intact, wonderfully-preserved examples of Yuan Dynasty craftsmanship.
Songtang Museum 3 Guoxijian Jie, Dongcheng district. Open 8.30am-6pm daily, 50RMB.