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8144

Cloisonne is one of China¡¯s famous traditional handicrafts. It combines the art of porcelain and copper. Showing off an elegant cloisonn¨¦ vase on your shelf will make your room more appealing and tasteful. Several days ago, I happened to visit a cloisonn¨¦ shop in southeast Beijing.

 

I was immediately attracted to a wide variety of colorful cloisonn¨¦ vases displayed on the shelves. Before long, the shop owner Mr. Nie came up to me and gave a brief introduction to his products.

 

Cloisonn¨¦ became very popular during the reign of Emperor Jingtai (1450 - 1456). At that time, artisans focused on blue, which is pronounced ¡®Lan¡¯ in Chinese. So the Chinese call it Jingtai Lan, after the emperor and the color.

 

In ancient China, cloisonn¨¦ was only used by the royal family. It could not be made in private workshops or sold in common marketplaces until the late Qing dynasty (1636 - 1912).

 

Mr. Nie said all of the items in his shop were made in his own factory.

 

When I asked him which one was the best seller, he passed me a blue and white cloisonn¨¦ vase. It felt very smooth. The pattern included blue flowers, clouds, and a big dragon.

 

Besides the large vases, this shop also has smaller items like jewelry.

 

What I appreciated

Superior workmanship, beautiful colors, cloisonn¨¦ vases

 

What customers appreciate

Traditional Chinese handicrafts, fine craftsmanship

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6368

The Miao are one of the most fascinating ethnic minorities in China. Recently, I found a Miao handicrafts shop on Yandai Xiejie. I was impressed by their silver ornaments and wax printing works.

 

The shop owner Mr. Zhang was dressed in the Miao traditional dress. He told me that Miao silver ornaments have a history of 400 years. The Miao have a variety of items that can brighten up your look from head to toe: silver headdresses, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, clothing accessories, waistbands, and anklets.

 

Miao girls are very partial to silver jewelry, as they see silver as a symbol of purity. And according to Miao customs, the larger, heavier, and more plentiful silver ornaments are considered the most beautiful.

 

Mr. Zhang showed me a pair of silver earrings. They feature long, beautiful twin birds. The silver threads are as thin as hair. Every detail is so fine.

 

The headdresses looked pretty heavy. I was afraid to wear any one of them, and it¡¯s not a good idea if you have a slender neck.

 

The blue cloth items with white patterns are actually wax printings. The patterns show beautiful flowers and Miao girls.

 

The cloth is made in a unique way: they draw an image on a piece of fabric with wax, and dip the fabric into a vat that contains dark blue dye. The parts of the fabric with wax cannot be dyed, so it will show off a gorgeous white pattern when the wax is removed.

 

At last, here¡¯s a tip to identify a real wax printing: Take a close look at a real wax painting work, you will find a number of fine, irregular blue crackles on the white area. They are caused when folding the wax-covered area, and the blue dye seizes the opportunity to permeate through the cracks.

 

What I appreciated

Unique arts and crafts of the Miao minority, the Miao silver jewelry

 

What customers appreciate

Exquisite silver ornaments, superb craftsmanship

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5915

Carved lacquer is a traditional form of Chinese art that has existed for at least 1,400 years. If you have a chance to visit the famous ancient culture street in Beijing ¨C called Liulichang ¨C be sure to visit this shop. You will find a number of handmade decorations.

 

I went there last week. A lot of carved lacquer plates, vases, and jewelry boxes are displayed orderly on the shelves. Most of them feature a black background and a red, elevated pattern. The patterns show birds and flowers, dragons and phoenixes, landscapes, and characters.

 

The shopkeeper, Mr. Zhu, told me the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties cared for carved lacquer very much. At that time, some royal lacquer ware workshops were set up. Their products were used exclusively by the royal family.

 

Want to know how a piece of carved lacquer ware is made? Take a carved lacquer plate for example, which has tens or hundreds of layers of paint on a thin plate. When it is half dry, artists engrave various patterns in the thick paint. Once the paint is completely dry, the color will never fade.

 

I couldn¡¯t help picking up a carved lacquer plate. It features a vivid picture of the Great Wall. I touch the pattern, and it felt very hard. The plate can be mounted on a wooden stand, and be displayed on your shelf.

 

What I appreciated

Fine carved lacquer ware, excellent craftsmanship

 

What customers appreciate

Traditional Chinese artwork, good decorations

Views
6182

For ladies who have jewels, a nice, unique jewelry box is absolutely indispensable. Recently, an archaistic jewelry box shop near the famous Hongqiao pearl market really impressed me. The jewelry boxes there have strong traditional Chinese characteristics and simply look like antiques.

 

As soon as I entered the shop, a number of appealing wooden jewelry boxes of different sizes jumped into my sight. Most of them were painted with vermilion paint and yellow images. The two colors symbolize nobleness and happiness in China. The hardware accessories like handles are made of yellow brass.

 

I also noticed the vivid images on the boxes. Most of them depict dragons and phoenixes. Dragons represent male, while phoenixes signify female. And a picture with a dragon and a phoenix stands for harmony and protection.

 

The shopkeeper, Mr. Li, told me these jewelry boxes were handmade and hand painted based on styles popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties hundreds of years ago. He opened this shop as he believed these archaistic jewelry boxes would be well-received even these days.

 

I couldn¡¯t agree more. Actually, a national treasure is an international treasure.

 

What I appreciated

Archaistic jewelry boxes, handmade artwork

 

What customers appreciate

Chinese-style jewelry boxes, fine craftsmanship

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1790
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2775

Huaxia Arts and Crafts Shop is built in an antique style. Two white stone lions are keeping guard at the door. The shop specializes in old jewelry, silk embroidery, old porcelain, classical Chinese furniture, old pocket watches, etc.

 

Getting into the shop, a customer feels a serene and agreeable artistic atmosphere. This is all the more surprising as the street outside is very busy. The shop d¨¦cor is beautiful with gray-black stone tiles, and glass enclosures in which the jewelry and other antiques are displayed. Every article here is appealing and worthy of appreciation.

 

The shop carries 19th century jewelry -- such as jadeite eardrops and necklace pendants ¨C dating back from the Qing Dynasty. Delicate and lifelike embroidery works hang on the wall. Some of these embroideries were worn by imperial officials, some such as little hats were worn by children. The latter aren¡¯t expensive at between RMB 100 to RMB 200.

 

One of the showcases contains vials and flasks dating back one hundred to two hundreds ago. These were used to pack snuff powder which the rich people would periodically inhale for better health. One of such vials bore a mountain design etched in black ink in the ceramics: a very rare object which required extraordinary skills from the artist. This one was priced at over RMB 6,000.

 

I also noticed ceramic tableware: one of the objects was a saucer set composed of eight trays surrounding a centerpiece. All the trays, used to contain sugar, salt, and spices, where delicately decorated. The set also dated from the Qing Dynasty, and was in remarkable condition. Most old porcelain items on display were created during the Qing Dynasty, that is, one hundred to three hundred years ago.

 

The shop also offers an impressive selection of antique clockworks, in metal and porcelain.

 

A lot of the objects can be exported to foreign countries.

 

What I appreciated

Antiques of the Qing Dynasty

 

What customers appreciate

Old and exquisite works of art, traditional Chinese handicrafts, a place for collectors

Views
2497
Beijing pictures, Huaxia Arts and Crafts Shop

Huaxia Arts and Crafts Shop is built in an antique style. Two white stone lions are keeping guard at the door. The shop specializes in old jewelry, embroidery, old porcelain, classical Chinese furniture, old pocket watches, etc.

 

Getting into the shop, a customer feels a serene and agreeable artistic atmosphere. Every article on display is appealing and worthy of appreciation. Old jewelry such as jadeite eardrops and necklace pendants is displayed in showcases. Delicate and lifelike embroidery works hang on the wall. They cost RMB 380 to RMB 10000. Among them, a yellow pattern named ¡°Dragon Gown¡± priced at RMB 8500 looked very attractive. A cloisonn¨¦ work named ¡°Elephant Carrying Vase on Back¡± cost RMB 190. Most old porcelain items on display were made in the Qing dynasty. Prices for old pocket watches range from RMB 1800 to RMB 8800.

 

What customers appreciate

Old and exquisite works of art, traditional Chinese handicrafts, a good place for collectors.


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Beijing Shopping: Cloisonne is one of China's famous traditional handicrafts. It combines the art of porcelain and copper. Showing off an elegant cloisonne vase on your shelf will make your room more appealing and tast...