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Beijing Native Productions

Antiques--Porcelain--Cloisonne--Lacquerware--Jade
Carpets--Silk--Painting & Calligraphy Scrolls--Handicraft--Medicine--Others

Shopping in Beijing is becoming more convenient by the day. Every year new shopping centers and palazs are sprouting up all over the capital. Just a few years ago there was only a few department stores and small bazaars, but now there are many supper-stores, mega-malls and markets where you can buy just about anything you need. Recently, the first IKEA just opened in the north of the city. There is a huge PriceSmart which is a discount wholesale food stuffs market for cardholders only.

Antiques

A good place to find a wide selection of antiques is at Liulichang. Liulichang is a street in Hepingmen, and many of the stores are quite old. This area has everything from scrolls, to jade articles to decades-old cigarette ad posters.

Another large antiques market is the antiques City at Panjiayuan. This is a multi-story building which is full of antiques and general kitsch.

Beijing Curio City, gathering more than 250 curio shops under one roof, is China's largest trade center for antiques and folk art works.

Many of the dealers are themselves connoisseurs and curio collectors. Antiques that date before 1795 are forbidden for sale or export. Those dated between 1796 and 1949 should bear a small red seal and a Certificate for Relics Export from the Beijing Cultural Relics Bureau (BCRB), to allow them to be taken out of China. The seal also proves the genuineness of the items.

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Porcelain

Porcelain, the original China, is still a major industry, producing dinner services, figurines and reproductions of antique vases, teapots and the like. The finest porcelain in the world can be easily purchased in China.

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Cloisonne

Cloisonne--Beijing Native productionsCloisonne is an art form developed in the 15th century, and now used to decorate vases, bowls, lamps, jewelry and ornaments.

The art of cloisonné (Jingtailan) is a unique combination of sculpture, painting, porcelain making and coppersmithing that is said to have originated in Beijing during the Yuan Dynasty. To make a cloisonné piece, a copper body is first made and then intricate engravings are made with a copper wire. Different colored pigments are next applied to the engravings. Finally, the piece is fired and polished.

The Cloisonne--Beijing Native ProductionsThe oldest existing piece was made during the Yuan Dynasty, but Jingtailan underwent a major change during the Ming Dynasty when at about 1450 to 1456, a new blue pigment was discovered and gave Jingtailan its current name based on the Chinese word for blue (lan). Ming Dynasty cloisonné is also considered to be the most intricate. Nevertheless, Jingtailan reached its peak during the Qing Dynasty due to great innovations in coppersmithing techniques.

Jingtailan can be found on large objects such as vases and other large utensils and decorative items, as well as small items like earrings, bracelets, chopsticks or jars. Beijing people like to give Jingtailan as gifts for it is something inherently Beijing. Jingtailan bought in tourist souvenir shops and stalls can be either expensive or rather reasonable. Try to bargain and you can walk away with a pretty souvenir of your visit to China's capital.

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LacquerwareLacquerware-Beijing Native Productions

Laequerware consists of up to 500 coats of lacquer applied to a copper base and carved into designs. The colors are red, green, yellow and black, while favorite patterns show flowers, birds, landscapes and figures. Lacquer is used for vases, plates, bowls and screen.

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Jade

Jade--Beijing Native ProductionsJade is regarded by the Chinese as a stone descended from heaven. They value its hard, cool texture and translucent colors. It is extremely difficult to carve but China's craftsmen create incredibly intricate ornaments and jewelry from jade.

For thousands of years, the Chinese people have given jade objects as gifts or used them to decorate one's home or person. In the past, jade was a symbol of status and rank in Chinese society and nobles would carry jade jewelry and official stamps made of jade on their person at all times. In modern times, Jade is often a symbol of wealth and is still considered to be lucky. It is said that if a lady wears a jade bracelet, then any bad luck will be stopped, causing the bracelet to break.

In Beijing, many jade craftsmen flocked to Beijing to make a name for themselves as master craftsmen and set up shop in the Chongwenmen area. In this way, Beijing gradually became one of the centers for producing this art. The art of jade cutting is very demanding and requires approximately seven years of apprenticeship to completely master. Jade cutters are very careful about wasting the precious material and will often design a piece based on the shape of the original rough stone.

Generally Beijing style jade objects are divided into two types. The first is large sized objects, including incense burners, vases, tea sets, figurines, birds, animals, or even life-sized peach trees. Wealthier Beijingers like to decorate reception areas with one or two large jade vases. The second type can be quite small like rings, necklaces, stamps with one's name carved on the bottom, hair or clothes pins.

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CarpetsChinese Carpets-Beijing Native Productions

Carpets, modern and antique, for use as tapestries or rugs, are plentiful and available at bargain prices. Those make in Beijing are close-woven with fine wool cut into sharp, elegant patterns, such as the dragon and phoenix design. Beautiful silk carpets and rugs from other provinces in China are also available in the capital

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Silk

Silk, which has brought fame to China, can be readily found in a dazzling array of colors, patterns and textures. While large State-owned stores like the Beijing Yuanlong Silk Corporation , Ltd. Can be trusted for quality and offer ready-made clothes as well as a complete array of fabric, private markets like Xiushui and Yabaolu sell all kinds of silk clothing from shirts, underwear and trousers, to pajamas and bedspreads at negotiable prices.

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Painting & Calligraphy Scrolls

Painting and calligraphy works are found in hundreds of stores. They vary in age, quality and price with the finest being true works of art. The brushes, ink slabs, ink and paper that were the scholars traditional tools can be found in most antique shops. One of the best sources is the China Book Store, off the courtyard-parking in East Liulichang.

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Handicraft

Market-Beijing Native ProductionsClay figurines and animals can be traced back to 1840s, and are still one of the most unique crafts in North China.

Dough modeling is another traditional folk art handed down from ancient times. Kneaded in half-cooked glutinous rice flour, dough figures, flowers and birds are popular small toys and exhibits in Beijing.

Kites can be used as ornaments and toys. One of China's favorite past times is flying kites, especially in Beijing where there is usually plenty of wind around to send them soaring into the sky. Available in many art and craft stores, kites are among the best Chinese presents to friends back home.

Snuff bottles, with paintings inside, represent a popular art from the Qing Dynasty and make excellent small gifts. You and your friends will marvel for years on how the artist paints such intricate drawings on the inside of these very small bottles.

Embroidery & drawn work appear on table cloths, napkins, sheets and handkerchiefs, all of which are excellent buys. The Beijing Yuanlong Silk Corporation Ltd. has a wide selection.

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Medicine

Chinese pharmacies sell various kinds of nutritious pills and tonics made from herbs. TongRenTang, as other traditional pharmacies, have a resident doctor in charge of taking your pulse and making prescriptions.

Most large department stores and supermarkets have special drug counters.

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Others

Cotton shoes, Snow-Lotus cashmere sweaters, woolen bed sheets, cotton shirts, and other practical clothing items are some of the bargains in the world

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