I recently visited a special handcraft shop. Its name is ¡°Sheng Tang Xuan¡±, which means ¡°flourishing shop owned by the Tang Family¡±.
I soon found that the shop owner, Mrs. Tang, was a woman with many talents. Her father was especially renowned as a toymaker who entered the family business of toy-making at 13 .Her family shop had a very long history, and was famous for stuffed flannel animals for more than 300 years.
After years of just operating a small booth, Mrs. Yang finally opened a shop 2002, many in the media reported the grand opening. Master Tang, Mrs. Tang¡¯s father, had crafts collected by the Central Arts Museum and the Capital Museum of Beijing. His life story was even told in the New York Times.
As the Tang family used to be battle flag holders in the army, their artworks are made from materials cheap to get: clay, paper, wood, and flannel. However, the process of making the toy required patience and intricate techniques. So they¡¯re is difficult to copy.
A typical Tang artwork is the ¡°Golden foal¡±, which shows a golden ingot on the back of the foal. In old Beijing, this a symbol of richness, so every year the local people would worship in the temple, and invited the foal back home for the hope of more fortune.
Other toys include the furry monkey, the grandpa rabbit, and the runninglight. Each has its own unique story and history.
What I appreciate:
the historical of the family
What customers appreciate:
the toys of old beijing flavor
Cross-stitch handcrafts are a popular item among Chinese customers, especially young Chinese girls. Yixiuniandai offers exclusive cross-stitch handcrafts with various interesting patterns. Their production is created by the shop owner and her team.
Situated in a quiet street near the middle of the North 3rd Ring Road, Yixiuniandai displays its beautiful cross-stitch patterns in a very attractive way. I had to visit the narrow shop at once.
I stepped into the shop, and an assistant offered help and information. I could ask her for details, prices, type of threads, etc. Yixiuniandai offers both the cross-stitch handcrafts created by its team, and the materials used to create such patterns if you prefer to cross-stitch yourself.
Prices for the materials range from RMB 30 to RMB 150, depending on the sizes. Patterns include animals, people, still lives, etc. Their prices depend on the quality of the thread used, the size, and the degree of complexity of the pattern.
Among the various brands of threads used in cross-stitching, DMC is the most popular in China. DMC thread has vivid colors highly appreciated by cross-stitchers. According to the shop assistant, the size of a pattern is figured out in terms of form (¸ñÊýgrid number/CT number*2.54+Áô±ß¾àÀëcm*2=size number). A picture with a simple pattern (a maid, for instance) with a size of 35.4 cm x 28.14 cm can cost RMB 180. Another pattern of the same size but with a more complex topic (a Bible story for instance) could cost RMB 290.
Yixiuniandai also helps customers who want their own photos cross-stitched. It takes about 2-3 months to complete a complex pattern such as a photo. The fee charged by the shop is not excessive, but obviously more expensive than for regular patterns. You can haggle over the proposed charge, of course.
What I appreciated:
A cross-stitched picture of a girl, displayed in the window
What customers appreciate:
Excellent workmanship, photo patterns, choice of threads
As one of the most recognizable brand name with more than 300 outlets in China, Carpenter Tan handicraft shop dedicates to producing wooden articles with traditional cultural features. Through their radiant wooden combs, wooden mirrors, scented fans, etc., Carpenter Tan maintains the thousand year old traditional methods for making household items. A rarity in today¡¯s modern industrial China.
The best seller is a beautiful wood-carved comb, made with valuable boxwood and high-quality pear wood. The comb features a delicately carved dragon that matches the comb perfectly. Priced at RMB 188, it has very good collection value. Customers also tell me that the comb feels better when you brush your hair.
Prices range from RMB 7 to RMB 888. The shop assistants speak basic English, and can help you pick out your favorite wood products.
What I appreciate
A large selection of wooden handcrafts
What customers appreciate
A large selection of wooden handcrafts and reasonable prices
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