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The "golden-cicada monkey", made of some raw material of Chinese traditional medicine, is a handicraft unique to Beijing. The small monkey¡¯s head and limbs are made of cicada¡¯s cast-off skin, while the body is made from tender bud of a yellow magnolia, which resembles a monkey¡¯s body. The art was inadvertently created by a boy apprenticed to a doctor long ago, and has since been refined through the generations.
Yesterday afternoon, I paid a visit to a golden-cicada monkey workshop located on the second floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum. The shop owner, also a master of making golden-cicada monkeys, was busy crafting his artifacts in the center of the room. So I took a look at his large selection of lively and lovely tiny monkeys displayed on the shelves.
The monkeys were beating drums, playing soccer, eating sugar-coated haws, and many other poses. On a wooden pedestal, I saw four monkeys playing table tennis, with audience and referee too (RMB 180).
Prices start at RMB 30 for small monkeys contained within glass jars. Generally, the prices are reasonable for gifts and souvenirs.
What I appreciated
Tiny monkeys, elaborateness of the handcraft.
What customers appreciate
Well-designed golden-cicada monkeys
If you're looking for the perfect jewelry to go with your new Chinese clothes, you have to see what the Miao people can do.
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