Beijing's Subway (Metro) Art

LINE 2 – Dongsishitiao (东四十条)



Running east-west through the Dongsi Subdistrict are a series of parallel hutongs (alleyways) called ‘tiao’, which are numbered in ascending order from south to north beginning with Dongsi Toutiao, the first alleyway of Dongsi, up to Dongsi Shisitiao, or the 14th alleyway.

The 10th alleyway, Dongsi Shitiao, was extended eastward through an opening in the Beijing city wall and was widened in the 1990s to become one of the main east-west thoroughfares in the old city. Dongsishitiao Station marks the intersection of the hutong and the wall.

When line 2 was built, Dongsishitiao was the nearest station to the Workers’ Stadium, which is still used to this day for sports events and rock concerts. Because of that its lighting has been designed to emulate the shapes of the Olympic rings.

The architectural decoration in Dongsishitiao caused the station to be selected as one of the ten greatest constructions in Beijing during the 1980s.

A ‘ghost’ platform still exists below the platform for Line 2 that was reserved for a planned Line 3 when the station was first built.

The sporting motifs for the mural along one side of the central platform refer to the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984 and the 9th Asian Games in Delhi in 1982. They depict sports such as archery, discus, horsemanship and fencing.

The opposite wall’s ‘Head to the World’ is a collage of athletes made by Yan Shangde in April 1985.

During 2017, all the platforms on Line 2 underwent renovation with the provision of platform gates, which now partially obscure the murals on all three of Line 2's stations. It is to be hoped that the extra vortex, which these gates will cause when trains enter the stations, will not further damage the mural tiles.