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 ití»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, hereí»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
Puí»er tea is distinctive for the mild climate where it grows. It has gathered a popular following with its lightly sweet taste and for its noted ability to lower blood pressure and sugar.
ZhengYun ChaShe, a shop in the Drum Tower area, offers Puí»er tea as well as ethnic handcraft from Yunnan Province, where the tea is grown. The owner, Mr. Yao, has been in Puí»er tea business for 5 years. And inside the shop, he set a tea table to offer free samples to those interested. Prices range from RMB 150 to RMB 800 per gram, depending on the age of the tea.
Also, there are ethnic items. Mr. Yao showed me a pair of straw sandal, usually worn in the mountain regions of southern China. It is made of bamboo root, and help avoid slipping while treading on the steep mountain paths. A pair sells around RMB 100. For ladies, he recommended traditional Yi ethnicity cloth-sole shoes, beautifully embroidered, and 100% hand-made. Yi ethnic women often wear these shoes for various occasions. A pair sells around RMB 150.
Mr. Yao and his assistants speak a little English. So communication is not a problem.
What I appreciate
What customers appreciate
Tea and souvenirs
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