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There is a saying in ancient China: Even he who has a big sum of money cannot buy porcelain covered with gold leaves. Last week, however, I found a Jingdezhen porcelain shop where porcelain covered with gold leaves was on sale.


The shopkeeper Mr. Yu greeted me warmly. He told me he comes from Jingdezhen, the ¡®Capital of Porcelain.¡¯ The company he works at is the only manufacturer of porcelain with gold leaf patterns. To master the unique process, a number of skillful potters have been experimenting for over 14 years.


Then he showed me the most amazing item in the shop ¨C a red porcelain tea set covered with gold leaves. The golden pattern on the big teapot features a dragon and a phoenix. The whole set looked very gorgeous and luxurious.


And what is more, when you put a teacup under the spout, tea will start pouring automatically! As the water level nearly reaches the rim, the pouring stops. And if the tea is clear enough, you can see a beautiful girl¡¯s portrait appearing at the bottom of the cup.


Due to their exclusive techniques, each of their high-end porcelain items is different from any others. I must say they are very fit for any collection.


Apart from charming artistic porcelain, this shop also has a variety of bone china tableware on display, such as bowls, plates, and ashtrays. They are high quality but inexpensive. If you pick up two pieces and knock them together gently, a resonant and melodious sound will drift in the air.


What I appreciated

Unique Jingdezhen porcelain, top quality


What customers appreciate

Jingdezhen porcelain, superior workmanship


I found a shop specializing in bone china made in central China¡¯s Tangshan, a city famous for porcelain. Their goods can be used not only as tableware for everyday use, but also as fine decorations.


When I went into the shop, I saw that there were many porcelain wares neatly presented throughout the store. This included bowls, plates, vases, and tea sets.


The shop owner, Mr. Zhang, welcomed me and said this is an outlet of a famous bone china manufacturer in Tangshan. He was born there, and he decided to bring Tangshan¡¯s quality local products to Beijing.


He said yak bone is a key material in their products, because it guarantees that their bone china looks very delicate.


I found a seven-piece tea set very intriguing. It has one tea pot and six tea cups. The surface of each item features a snow-white backdrop and blue flower patterns. I found the set so tasteful that I couldn¡¯t help but pick up the pot. It felt extremely exquisite, and much lighter than I imagined. The handle is made of cane, which transfers very little heat.


Some of their plates were also very beautiful. The patterns include beautiful women from Chinese history and wonderful nature scenes. They are very nice indeed.


What I appreciated

Quality, nice bone china


What customers appreciate

Appealing and practical table ware, good ornaments

Beijing pictures, Chunny Ceramics Shop

A small porcelain shop recently opened on the north side of Di¡¯anmen Dongdajie. It¡¯s easily recognizable, with its white signboard which shows the shop name ¡°Chunny Ceramics¡±. Their catchphrase, written in Chinese characters, was ¡°We produce practical works of art¡±. I went inside to check it out.


The wooden shelves show various uniquely shaped ceramics, including sculptures, vessels, home decorations, tea sets, wall decorations, and necklaces. The shopkeeper, Mr. Li, told me that all of their products are designed by professional artisans in Jingdezhen, the famous ceramics capital of China.


He also said that each item is uniquely handmade. If you buy one cup, you can be sure that there¡¯s no other cup in the world like it. To check, I looked at their ceramics one by one carefully, and found that each one really did look different from others.


The cups I picked up had irregular small pits on the surface, but my fingers fit around the pits comfortably. That¡¯s when I realized that this cup was designed this way.


One cup usually costs RMB 10 - 20. Note that nearly each cup bears their registered brand name ¡°Chun Ni¡±, which means ¡°Spring Soil¡± in English.


They also accept customer requests. If you have a particular idea in mind, they can design and make a custom ceramic work in about 20 days. Two assistants who can speak some English ensure smooth communication.


What I appreciated

Original design, one piece one style


What customers appreciate

Distinct ceramics, good for gift and souvenir


Chinese ceramics come in all shapes and sizes, as vases, plates, tea cups, to name a few. Tian Bo Yuan, located on Dongzhimen Wai Street, has a good selection of each. The exquisite porcelains and potteries there are from Jingdezhen, Longquan and Liling. These 3 cities are famous for their characteristic production of ceramics.

Everywhere you look there¡¯s something unique. A particular blue vase with protrusive yellow and purple patterns looked like a cloisonn¨¦. The potteries ¡°climbing flowers¡± were characterized by beautiful pictures depicted in details by needle. The vases with underglazed color are my favorite. They have lucid bodies with light colors. You can clearly see your images reflected on each.

Some potteries are great works of masters. A pottery featuring an old man with a tiger even won the gold medal at the Shanghai International Art Festival. A series of chinawares with red hue were appreciated by the leaders who attended 2006 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

Tian Bo Yuan also has some special paintings drew on the ceramic tiles. One is produced by a famous artist, Fan Zeng, in the 80's. Today, it's an art treasure for the unique technique.

Prices range from RMB 200 to RMB 3000.

What I appreciate:
Wonderful display of the art of Chinese ceramics

What customers appreciate:
Superb craft

Beijing pictures, Eggshell porcelain bowls

In the country of origin for porcelain, the most famous place for producing porcelain is Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province. In fact, the city¡¯s name is synonymous with porcelain.


Walk 15 minutes southward from Tian¡¯anmen Square, and you can find a JingDeZhen shop called JiangQingZhai on ZhuShiKou East Street.


On my visit there, I found something amazing. One that really reflects a saying about JingDeZhen porcelain, ¡®white as jade, thin as paper, bright as mirror, and sounds as chime stone¡¯.


I discovered two porcelain bowls on a shelf. One is bigger than the other. Both are so thin that even look transparent in some areas. This style is called hollowed-out work, and looks amazing. The bowls are painted in various types of blue patterns.


Another appealing piece was a set of ten eggshell bowls. Each is laid inside another, with the smallest in the center. The exterior surface of each bowl has paintings of lovely, vivid flowers and birds. Tag price for this set of bowls is 860 yuan.


What I appreciated

Jingdezhen porcelain, porcelain bowls as thin as paper


What customers appreciate

Elaborate eggshell porcelain bowls

Beijing pictures, Jiangqingzhai Jingdezhen Ceramics Shop

When it comes to porcelain ware, the town of Jingdezhen is by far the most famous in China. On the southern side of Zhushikou Dongdajie lies a large Jingdezhen porcelain shop named Jiangqing Zhai. It is owned by a porcelain company based in Jingdezhen.


Various delicate porcelain wares behind the shop windows attracted me in. The spacious setting is full of artistic atmosphere. A wide variety of porcelain items are displayed on shelves. The selection was very good.


According to the shopkeeper from the city of Jingdezhen, all these items on display can be divided into four categories: artistic porcelain created by famous artists, antique reproductions, daily-use porcelain, and gift items.


I noticed several beautiful items. One was a plate painted with colorful mandarin ducks, lotus flowers, and lotus leaves (RMB 70). Another was a gift box, which contained three little caskets painted with lovely pandas eating bamboos (RMB 100). I also admired many elegantly-painted vases with strong traditional Chinese characteristics.


What I appreciated

Agreeable shopping environment, reasonable prices.


What customers appreciate

Elaborate porcelain, reasonable prices.

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Beijing Shopping: There is a saying in ancient China: Even he who has a big sum of money cannot buy porcelain covered with gold leaves. Last week, however, I found a Jingdezhen porcelain shop where porcelain covered wi...