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4432

Drinking tea is not only healthy, but also enjoyable. Especially when your tea is brewed in an endearing tea pot.

In a famous tea street, I found a shop offering quality tea and tea sets. Tea come in all types, including green tea, black tea, white tea, floral tea, and pu'er tea. The shopkeeper especially recommended the compressed pu'er tea cakes. There are two kinds of pu'er tea cakes: raw tea cake and processed tea cake. Raw pu'er tea can relieve your stress and refresh your mind. Precessed pu'er tea can help you digest food and lose weight.

Among all the tea sets in this shop, a green tea set is quite eye-catching. It is made of mineral material which is beneficial to health. The lid of the tea pot is in the shape of a beautiful butterfly.

A display of numerous purple clay tea pots highlights this shop. Purple clay is a special material, which gives tea a rich and mellow taste, and preserve its quality and color for over one night.

What I appreciate:
Quality tea and tea sets

What customers appreciate:
Various teas, beautiful tea sets with superb craft

Views
2432


This inkstone is highly worth collecting, since the source of it is on extinction path.

Even if you know nothing about Chinese calligraphy and painting, you can still impress your friends by placing a beautiful inkstone on your desk.      

A few days ago, I visited an inkstone shop offering its clientele one of the four most well- known inkstones in China. A hospitable shop owner received me. According to him,  this type of inkstone was made famous by a beautiful story.

One day, a man walking along a riverside found two cranes standing still on the river. He used a net to capture them, but only got a stone. Strangely enough, he found a crack on the stone and could hear cranes singing from there. Intrigued, the man cut the stone in half along the crack, and the two pieces became two beautiful inkstones, each engraved with the image of a crane.

This type of inkstones are called Duan, after the name of the city which produces them. People like to engrave pictures on Duan inkstones. Cranes are a particularly popular subject.

Duan inkstone has about 1300 years of history. It's made from a special stone with fine texture. It allows the ink ground in it to flow readily, and prevents it from icing up in winter.  What's more, a craftsman needs 10 years of practice before he can skillfully engrave excellent images on a Duan inkstone. 

Inkstones at this shop come in various sizes. The smallest one is about 4 x 2  inches, the biggest, 8 x 15 inches.

Prices of the smaller inkstones range from RMB 60 to RMB 800.  The biggest one costs RMB 12,000.

What I appreciate: 

quality inkstones with beautiful carvings


What customers appreciate:

beautiful inkstones, negotiable price

Views
1614

An delicate porcelain always gives you great pleasure. An porcelain with several hundred years of history is all the more valuable for collection.

A fews days ago, I visited Jing Ying Ge, an antique shop featuring porcelain wares of ancient China. The shop owner was a lover of antiques. He had been collecting antique porcelains for 15 years. Many items were as old as 1000 years.

He showed me his favorite - a white porcelain pot characterized by crackles on the surface. Behind this elegant porcelain, there is a story. Once there were two brothers, who were both famous porcelain ware makers in their town. The younger brother was jealous of the older brother, because his porcelains sold better. One day the younger brother scattered sand into the older brother's porcelain-making material, in order to sabotage his work.  Surprisingly,  it turned out that the sand gave beautiful golden stripes to the surface of the porcelain. Later, this kind of porcelains became very popular.. . 

Another notable piece was a covered pot made from precious green Kongque stone. Despite being over 600 years old, it was still in  good shape.

Falancai porcelain only existed in China for  a short period of time. I found a Kwan-yin statue made of falancai porcelain,a really precious item indeed.

What I appreciate:

gorgeous antique porcelains

What customers appreciate:

beautiful antique porcelains, reliable shop owner with much experience in antique business

Views
1853

Hand-painted fans have a long history in China, and are still popular today. They are not only used in summer, but good gifts on any occasion. In a famous street lined up with lots of painting, calligraphy, antique shops, I found a shop Jing Hua Fan House.

Mr. Shen, the shop owner, is a gifted artist. He would paint on fans in front of your very eyes.  There are two different types of fans: traditional court silk ones, and folded paper ones. The court silk fans are designed for women. I especially noticed one round silk fan featuring a beautiful plum blossom. In China this is the symbol of  purity and fortitude. The folded paper fans are used by men. They are characterized by vivid paintings on the front and calligraphies on the back.

Prices are around RMB 100.

The shop also displays a large collection of clay figurines and framed paintings. Prices range from RMB 100 to RMB 200.

What I appreciate:

beautiful handmade fans of good quality

What customers appreciate:

hand-painted fans, reasonable price

Views
2025

Chinese brush painting has 1,300 years of history. A few days ago I visited 93 Painting, a brush painting shop in an antique market. Mr.Zhang, the owner of the shop, kindly received me. He told me that his shop had collected many famous artists' paintings.

A painting named De Tao Tu is a good gift for friends and family. It featured a monkey playing with six peaches. The monkey was depicted so vividly that I could clearly see its hair. In Chinese culture, peaches symbolize longevity.

Another painting depicting five cabbages was also appealing. It was painted by a famous painter from the 1950s. Cabbages represent purity and being a good government official.

93 Painting also features beautiful porcelains and woodcarvings. In one corner of the shop stood a statue of Kwan-yin. It was carved in a  precious Huangyang wood.

What I appreciate:
fine artworks of famous artists

What customers appreciate:
beautiful artworks, reasonable price

Views
5816

Tea pillows help you sleep better, as the faint aroma of the dried tea leaves relieve stress from your brain. Tea pillows can also improve facial complexion.

On a famous tea street, I found a shop named Cha Zhen Shi Jia offering quality tea pillows. According to the shop assistant, the pillows at the shop are made from green tea, floral tea, or oolong tea. They all can help you have a better sleep. The three teas have different aromas:  floral tea is  light, oolong tea is strong , and green tea is between the two.

As early as 500 years ago, Mr. Lu Yu, the Saint of Tea, used tea for pillows.

On a tea table stood cute tea pets, such as the interesting ¡°dragon fish¡± which has a dragon¡¯s face, and a fish¡¯s body. Tea pets are considered auspicious animals in Chinese lore. They can bring people good luck.

What I appreciate:

healthy tea pillows

What customers appreciate:

a wide choice of quality tea pillows

Views
3634

If you are searching for unique, fun, and a little twisted gifts in Beijing, then going to Grifted would be a good choice. Grifted is a gift shop located in an old street with 800 years of history.

The owner of Grifted comes from New York.

She first showed me the colorful postcards hung on the wall. The postcards are pictures taken by  local photographers. They reflect lives of the ordinary people in Beijing. One postcard featuring a little girl with a gorilla was quite interesting. It seemed to tell us a story of how to live in harmony with nature.

The colorful curtains offered in this shop are made from recycled candy wrappers. They are so glittery. Hanging them in your doorway would make a catchy fashion statement.

You also can find dolls, puppets, jewelry, and T-shirts. A black umbrella featured the picture of a monk with a funny victory gesture. It really made me in stitches.

What I appreciate:

funny items with unique design

What customers appreciate:

a wide choice of interesting items, hospitable shop owner who speaks good English

Views
7018

You An Kite is a shop located at You An Men Wai street, that sells kites of various types, large and small, all unique and beautiful. A large kite can be as large as the dragon kite, 100 feet in length, with hundreds of rings circling its body. A small kite can be as small as a miniature kite with a length of 0.33 feet.

One traditional Beijing kite is "Sha Yan". It is a lovely kite with a swallow's head on its main body, and four wings painted with different animals, like dragon, fish or bat, which respectively represents good luck, wealth and happiness. People believe that ¡°Sha Yan¡± can bring good luck to any place it flies by. There are a lot of ¡°Sha Yans¡± in the shop, and according to the shop owner, one such kite is always handmade, with bamboo as it frame and silk as its covering.

There are also kites that are machine-made. One such kite is in the shape of a triangle, and uses iron as its frame and ninon as its covering. You can easily fly it in the sky.

The smallest kites are the miniature kites with a length of only 0.33 feet. They look exactly like "Sha Yan", with their whole body painted with cute animals. They are priced at RMB 20 each.

Other beautiful kites are in the shapes of butterfly, dragonfly, fish or eagle. They are all handmade and with gorgeously painted wings.


What I appreciate:
Handmade kites with gorgeous painting

What customers appreciate:
Traditional technique, modern design

Views
4346

Lijiang in Yunnan Province is home to Naxi, an old ethnic minority group that holds a mysterious Dongba culture. I took a visit to Dong Ba E Zu, a handicraft shop in the 798 Art Zone, and it was a colorful experience.

The shops had many interesting items that had different colors and fancy shapes. Among them were pottery vases and teapots, one of them looked like a fence, another like a castle. A fence-shape teapot is an old item used by Naxi people. When the lid was removed, the air was instantly filled with the fragrance of the tea. Prices for these vases and teapots vary from RMB 300 to RMB 1000.

The woodcarvings also fascinated me. I found a round piece of woodcarving work that depicts an old story from this unique culture. Another piece features a goddess with an exaggerated bottom, symbolizing Naxi people's worship for reproduction. Prices for a woodcarving item is about several hundred yuan.

The batik fabrics and batik garments there were also lovely. A violet pleated skirt got my attention, one that is wholly handmade. I liked it because it not only looks Naxi, but also looks metropolitan on a Beijing street.

What surprised me were the silver jewelry items hung on the wall. They were twinkling necklaces and earrings. The earrings were so huge! - And they were just for ordinary Naxi women.

What I appreciate:
Unique culture, excellent handwork

What customers appreciate:
Handicrafts representing Dongba culture

Views
3419

At a quiet corner of the 798 Art Zone, where most people don't notice, is an embroidery studio owned by Ms. Zhu Shouzhen. It would not have been a quiet corner, had people passing there known what fantastic embroidery works they could find in the shop.

The embroidery works on display were done by Ms. Zhu and her students. They come in four different types: original embroidery work, embroidery painting, portrait embroidery and embroidered cloth like curtains, sheets and tablecloth.

One piece that immediate caught my attention featured a girl with long blond hair, the  needlework of which was so delicate that I could even count the number of hairs. Another piece that featured a girl was a huge one, 10 x 5 feet in size, and took Ms. Zhu and her students many years to complete.

Portrait embroidery was what made this shop unique. Highlighting this uniqueness were a portrait of Elizabeth II, a portrait of Pabol Picasso,  and many other portraits of foreign dignitaries. In fact, Ms. Zhu was asked by these foreign dignitaries to make portraits for themselves. They include the president of Ireland and the president of Kazakhstan. The portrait of Pabol Picasso won Ms. Zhu a 3rd prize in the 26th World Art Festival in Britain.

Born in Suzhou, Ms. Zhun learned embroidery since her childhood, and combined her embroidery techniques with those of the western art in making her embroidery work. In the past 20 years, she has won numerous awards at home and abroad.

I checked out a bundle of silk thread used for embroidery before I left. One of Ms. Zhu's students told me that a piece of such beautiful silk thread could be divided into 256 threads. And in total 10,000 colors of silk thread are used in their embroidery. What an amazing art!

Ms. Zhu takes custom orders. You can send your photos to have your own embroidery portrait done. Prices for embroidery works range from several thousand to one million yuan.

What I appreciate:
Beautiful embroidery, Sophisticated skill

What customers appreciate:
Beautiful embroidery, overseas shipment


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Beijing Shopping: Drinking tea is not only healthy, but also enjoyable. Especially when your tea is brewed in an endearing tea pot.