Ma Haifang (马海方) is a Chinese artist born and grew up in Beijing’s outskirts. Below are some of his works illustrating the lives of ordinary rural and city folks in Beijing in the last century.

A summer afternoon in an old Beijing village.


Aaaah! The old fashion back scratcher. One of the best inventions ever.

All Things Chinese
Have you ever used it? 😂

I’ve got one that looks like the one in the picture. That and a brush on a long handle for the shower.

Summer in an old Beijing village after dinner.
Neighbourhood entertainment on a summer night in old Beijing.
A roasted sweet potato vendor on a Beijing street.

Each year from the early autumn on, there were roasted sweet potato stalls emerging in Beijing’s trading centres and hutongs (alleyways) in siheyuan (courtyard-style houses) neighbourhoods. Most of the vendors were peasants from Beijing’s outskirts or non-locals without a job. The initial investment includes a stove, usually made with a recycled oil barrel so it actually cost nothing, and a second-hand bike.

A vendor at a paper lantern market in Beijing during Chinese New Year.
A funeral band in Beijing’s rural area with the service offered by Buddhist monks as a way to guard the deceased to transit through their lives.

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