Mixed scripts on a Beijing bookstore sign

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Interesting combination of scripts for the Military Bookstore on Dì'ān mén xī dàjiē 地安门西大街 (" Di'anmen West Street") (lots of concrete barriers out front!):

A glance at this sign makes one's head reel, because it is such a mixture of script styles in just six characters.

Zhōngguó jūnshì shūdiàn
"Chinese Military Bookstore"

There even seem to be two different colors, but that might be due to weathering or other factors.

The character for "book" (shū 书) is cursive, but the others are in regular script, though a combination of simplified and traditional styles.

The calligrapher, Xu Xiangqian 徐向前 (1901-1990), was a Chinese Communist military leader and one of the Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army.

Other examples of Xu's calligraphy display the same mixture of styles:


Xu's eminence insures that the bookstore would never dare to "correct" his ipsissima verba.

[Thanks to Mark Metcalf and Leqi Yu]


  1. Scott P. said,

    June 10, 2019 @ 10:07 pm

    Is that a bookstore for the Chinese military, a bookstore that sells books on military topics, or something else?

  2. Ouen said,

    June 11, 2019 @ 4:01 am

    That 亊 is an interesting variant of 事 as well. Appropriateky for the subject, it looks a bit like 爭

  3. Mark Metcalf said,

    June 11, 2019 @ 7:24 am

    @Scott P:
    The store sells books on a wide range of military topics. The address is 40 Di'anmen W St (40 地安门西大街) which is also the address listed on the title page of books published by the PLA Press (解放军出版社). A short walk from the Ping'anli 平安里 subway station (Exit C).

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