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Like oil paintings? When you¡¯re in Beijing, don¡¯t miss the city's largest art market. Recently I visited an oil painting shop on the first floor of this market.


The shop owner is Ms. Chen. She told me that all of her oil paintings were created by contemporary Chinese artists. They can be divided into two categories: classic Western-style oil paintings, and oil paintings that combine Western and Chinese styles. The themes include figures, still objects, and landscapes.


Looking around at the paintings hanging on the walls, my eyes finally stopped on one entitled ¡®Waves.¡¯ I love the sea, so this was the one that most appealed to me. The waves tumble with white froth, and seagulls are flying just above the sea. The picture looked so lifelike that I could almost smell the salt water and hear the sounds of the surf. The shop owner told me this work took ten days to finish.


I also liked their paintings depicting grazing horses, and a mountain spotted with snow, reflected in a peaceful lake.


What I appreciated

Lifelike oil paintings


What customers appreciate

Oil paintings combining Western and Chinese styles


If you like oil paintings, I bet you would like to visit a Chinese-style oil painting shop on your trip to Beijing. The shop is called Ju Qi Zhai, and it¡¯s located on Liulichang East Street.


When I entered the shop, the shop owner Mr. Huang received me warmly and gave me a brief self-introduction. He himself is an artist. He was brought up in a small, poor village. Though life was difficult there, he and his friends held out hope for a brighter future. So he set hope as the theme of most of his paintings.


He then brought me to one of his paintings. I was attracted by the Great Wall on it right away. Instead of a grey color, this Great Wall was red. And pretty soon I realized that the Great Wall was made of a team of boys. Above their heads there is a white dove flying in the sky.


The dove represents hope and peace that will fall upon children. The children, wearing red, symbolize a prosperous and powerful country.


Some other paintings show the traditional courtyards of old Beijing. As I was raised in Beijing, these pictures reminded me of my childhood memories. The traditional courtyards are shown exactly as they were: the grey bricks, a wooden gate posted with red couplets, and a pair of stone lions keeping guard at the door.


I have to admit that old Beijing really has a lingering charm.


The artist also focuses on painting Chinese ethnic minority girls. Each of them is wearing the colorful traditional dress of her minority group. Some of the charming girls are playing flutes or other instruments. Gazing at them attentively, I felt like I could hear the melodious sound.


What I appreciated

Oil paintings depicting ordinary life


What customers appreciate

Chinese-style oil paintings


Have you thought about turning your photos into beautiful oil paintings? In Bo Gu Yi Yuan Antique Market, I found a studio offering this service. The studio name is Cai Ze Ren Sheng, which means "colorful life".

Upon entering the studio, I saw an artist painting a Tibetan girl. To the side was a photo of her. I was touched by the girl's facial expressions, depicted in detail by the painting. Her colorful Tibetan costume looked even more vivid in the painting than in the photo.

The artist got up, and introduced himself to me as the owner, Wang Zeyuan. Mr. Wang then explained to me about his paintings. They are typically 3.5 ft by 2.3 ft. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to finish a piece. However, family photos will take a bit longer.

Price is RMB 3000 for the default sized painting. Customers can ask for a smaller piece for a cheaper price.

Mr. Wang is also good at drawing the landscape of nature. Some of his oil paintings are hung on the wall, for RMB 1000 each. If you like a particular scenery, send him your postcard and to have a fine oil painting done in its likeness.

Mr. Wang occasionally receives overseas customers. Communication is not a problem, nor is overseas shipment.

What I appreciate:
Oil paintings of one's own photos

What customers appreciate:
Reasonable price, overseas shipment

Beijing pictures, the Glove Puppets

I would like to introduce you today to the artworks of Taiwan. I found these handicrafts inside a shop called "Beijing* Taibei". The name combines the capital cities of China and Taiwan.

The shop owner, Mr Wang, is a native of Taiwan who has lived in Beijing for over 10 years. As a lover of both Taiwan artworks and Beijing heritage, he opened this shop wishing to promote a communion between them.

The top three famous artworks in the shop are the paper handwork, Glove Puppets, books on the cultural heritage of China.

Mr. Wang first showed me the glove puppets, which everyone in his hometown knows about. These glove puppets follow locals from their childhood. They blend Chinese art forms of sculpturing, drawing, and embroidery.

You may or may not have seen Chinese paper cuttings. Well, Taiwan paper cuttings are different. These are more like statues, and look like figurines rather than paintings. Taiwan paper statues depict much of old Taiwan culture. They even have Do-it-yourself packs for you to make at home.

Prices at Beijing Taibei range from 6 to 1000. And the shop owner can speak a little English.

And one last thing, if you have trouble finding the shop, just look for the playful parrot at the entrance.

What I appreciate:
exquisite silk goods

What customers appreciate:
the glove puppets and the oil painting

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Beijing Shopping: Like oil paintings? When you're in Beijing, don't miss the city's largest art market. Recently I visited an oil painting shop on the first floor of this market.