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A Tibetan handicraft shop is in Fangyuan West Road, named "Jia Na Ma Ni". "Jia Na" means "monk"in Tibetan, and "Ma Ni" is the stones Tibetans pile together for prayer.

The shop owner had worked in Tibet for many years. In her recent visits to Tibet and the area around it, she brought back a lot of colorful items from Tibet and India.

The carpets there were very eye-catching. They are made of wool, cashmere, silk, yak hair or camel hair, and have sizes varying from 2 x 3 feet to 5.5 x 8 feet. Because of a special process in the making, the colors of the carpets won't easily fade. I couldn't get my eyes off a 5.5 x 8 feet red carpet, which has a typical Tibetan style and beautiful vertical stripes at the four sides. I couldn't get my hand off it, too, because 30 % of its material is silk, so it felt so soft and so warm. The price is RMB 25,000.

Jewelry there come in the forms of necklaces, earrings and bracelets, which are made from coral, agate, pearls or pipal seed. Tibetans believe that wearing such jewelry can bring them good luck. Prices range from RMB 100 to RMB 200.

For other beautiful items, there are the spoons made from yaks' horn, which are rarely seen in Beijing, and some colorful scarves, bed linens and hats that are from India.

What I appreciate:
Ethnic Tibetan handicrafts of fine workmanship

What customers appreciate:
Tibetan handicrafts, reasonable price


A ceramic ornament is made of ceramic scraps bound with silver. Recently, it has become a fad among Beijingers.
At the 798 Art Zone, I found a shop called Ancient Ceramic Fashion, which features beautiful ceramic ornaments. They offer necklaces, bracelets, rings and hairpins, all made of ancient ceramic scraps unearthed from the relics of old kilns.

One particular bracelet was especially eye-catching. The middle is an oval-shaped ceramic with a beautiful pattern of lotus. It matched well with the huge silver band carved with leaves.

A brooch in the shape of a bird also looked cute. The body was weaved with silver wires. The artist used an ancient technique for making phoenix coronets.

Every step is done by hand, due to the delicacy of ceramic straps.

Prices vary from RMB 600 to RMB 2000.

What I appreciate:
Unique ceramic ornaments, beautiful design

What customers appreciate:
Ceramic ornaments reflecting  ancient culture


As a versatile artist, Mr. Wang Hongxiang is good at both sculpturing and various styles of paintings. At his studio on Liu Li Chang street, you can get both a painting of yourself or a clay figure in your likeness. In addition, Mr. Wang offers a large variety of calligraphies, oil paintings, traditional Chinese paintings, and clay sculptures.

His desks are filled with various clay portraits. They are depicted very vividly, especially the eyes. One figure depicting a middle-aged man really stood out. You can even count his eyebrow hairs.

It doesn¡¯t take a long time for Mr. Wang to produce a clay portrait. You just need to sit here for 30 minutes, and your portrait will be complete.

The clay is specially processed. Not being fired in a high temperature, yet the clay sculptures are quite firm.  Each one costs from RMB 100 to RMB 200, depending on the size. 

Mr. Wang's painting works combines the art of oil paintings with that of traditional Chinese paintings. Each one is inscribed with beautiful Chinese calligraphy. If you want a photo painted, but can't visit the shop, you can send your photo by mail. A regular portrait painting costs RMB 500.

What I appreciate:
Fine workmanship

What customers appreciate:
Fine workmanship, reasonable price



Even within the Liulichang Culture Street, a center of traditional Chinese craftwork, artistry and antiques, Mr. Xu Bi's calligraphy shop is quite unique. For his writing brush weighs 4.5 kg, or 10 pounds.

Mr. Xu told me he had used this heavy brush for 17 years. With it, he can write a Chinese character 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

The heavy brush is made up of a regular brush and a piece of iron. Writing with it exercised Mr. Xu's wrist to the point where he can now write for several hours without feeling exhaustion.

In addition to the large characters, I also found some calligraphy works featuring characters which are as small as an ant. Mr. Xu said he use the tip of a brush to write these tiny characters.

Mr. Xu started to learn calligraphy at the age of six. In the past forty years, he has never stopped practicing it. His calligraphies adopt poems and essays in ancient Chinese literature.

Prices of his Calligraphy vary quite a bit. My favorite work, which featured 5000 tiny characters, cost RMB 5000.

His shop also offers a special service: designing signatures for customers.  It costs RMB 100. With the Olympics held in Beijing, this business is doing quite well.

What I appreciate:
Great art of calligraphy, calligraphy shown on the spot

What customers appreciate:
Names written in beautiful calligraphy



Walking only 5 minutes from the exit of Communication University Metro Line, you can find a 3-storied building named Dong Fang Gu Yuan Art Market. Inside is a huge selection of beautiful Chinese art, such as hand-made carvings at Teng Yun Ge.

The owner of the shop tells me that all the carving products are from his hometown in Fujian Province. Carving products from Fujian are renowned in China. The shop features woodcarving, bamboo carving, stone carving, jade carving, and colored glaze carving.

The wood carving products are made of various woods, some of which are really rare, like Zitan wood. All products are made with superb carving skills. My favorite figures are people from the stories of ancient Chinese history.

A telephone carved with a dragon and phoenix also caught my eyes. It was a really nice piece of work, with a lamp standing on the pedestal. The owner says it's a real telephone. Once plugged in, you can make phone calls with it.

Further inside is for the display of stone carvings. The prices of stone carvings are much higher than those of woodcarvings, ranging from RMB 1000 to RMB30,000, depending on the sizes and designs.

I took note of a particular type of stone carving, called Shoushan Stone carving. It has a history of over 1500 years and famous throughout the country.

What I appreciate:
Excellent carving skills, lovely carved figures

What customers appreciate:
Splendid display of hand-made carvings, a wide choice of items as far as prices and sizes are concerned.


Quality tea needs quality tea sets to compliment it. As a large tea shop at Maliandao tea street, Xiang Yuan Shao Pin offers one-stop shopping for both.

Teas offered at Xiang Yuan Shao Pin come in all types, including green tea, black tea, white tea, and floral tea. They¡¯re all produced at China's famous tea plantations.

Pu'er tea is one of the more popular teas on the market today. It¡¯s easily recognizable, with its unique packaging. I especially noticed one kind of Pu'er tea contained in plastic bottles. They look like candies. The shop owner told me Pu'er teas are compressed to make it easier to transport through the mountains where the tea grows.

Price of the pressed Pu'er tea is RMB 72 per 100 grams.

As for tea sets, the highlights of the shop are their ¡±huo hua¡± ¨C which means ¡®to activate¡¯ ¨C porcelain. The teapot can ¡®activate¡¯ the water poured within over 20 different microelements beneficial to one¡¯s health.

Price of this tea set, which contains one teapot and six tea cups, is RMB 1200.

What I appreciate:
Quality tea and tea sets

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



Fabulous Peking Opera make-ups fascinate people from home and abroad. Long Xiu Ge, an embroidery shop in Dong Fang Gu Yuan Art Market, converts this great art into magic embroidery works.

The owner of Long Xiu Ge, Ms Long, tells me that she has designed over 100 make-ups of different styles. In order to do the best make-ups, she has immersed herself in the world of Peking Opera. For example, she has not missed a single Peking Opera show on TV in the past few years.

Embroidered paintings featuring vivid figures and animals attracted me the most. Take one embroidery depicting cicadas and sparrows. It had extremely delicate needlework. You can even see the replicated seals of Emperor Qianlong and Emperor Xuantong clearly.

Another embroidery work I liked featured fishes swimming in the pool. The lifelike fishes seemed to jump out of the embroidery cloth.

It takes months or even years for an experienced worker to accomplish just one piece of embroidery work. Ms. Long says that most of her workers are between the ages of 40 to 70, as many youngsters today don't have patience to do this time-consuming work.

The price of embroideries varies a lot, from RMB 500 to RMB 50,000.

What I appreciate:
Unique design, excellent craft

What customers appreciate:
Handmade embroideries representing Chinese culture


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


Strolling around Hongqiao Tianhuan Market, I was drawn by a silk shop called JFC Silk, which featured colorful tablecloth, table runner, scarf, shawl, robe, cushion, and little accessories.

The quality tablecloth felt very good, and offered at different sizes. Small ones come in 4 x 4 feet, while larger ones are 5 x 10 feet. The owner showed me one piece of table runner with beautiful pictures. He said this kind of table runner are even framed and hung on walls by some customers. It was that beautiful a piece of art.   

Most silk fabrics are volume-produced by machine. But a few are handmade. Prices range from RMB 100 to RMB 370 for machine-made ones. Handmade products are more expensive. For example, a set of handmade silk table decoration including a tablecloth, a table runner, some cushions, and a pair of jewel cases cost RMB 4000.

The shop also offers the chopstick cases, photo albums and purses.

What I appreciate:
Patented silk fabrics

What customers appreciate:
Fine craft, cute design


It's pretty amazing what a little imagination can do. For example, take Hongfu, whose various animal figures are all made from plants. This Laitai Flower Market shop really stood out with this special folk art originated from Northeast China.

A look around the shelves showed animal figurines like bears, squirrels, hedgehogs, rabbits, camels, and ducks. The most impressive ones were the chickens. Some were made of corn, some were made of leaves. One particular piece featured a family of cute chicken figurines standing at the corner of the shop. 
I took a bear figurine to examine closely. It felt really light. The owner said the frame is made of foam. Then they glued the sterilized plants onto the body. Everything is made by hand.

A big rooster costs RMB 390. A hen costs RMB 190. A little chicken only costs RMB 35.

The shop also offers furniture, carpets, clay figurines, and fish wood carvings.

What I appreciate:
Beautiful handicrafts with unique craft

What customers appreciate:
Chinese folk art, beautiful handicrafts

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Beijing Shopping: A Tibetan handicraft shop is in Fangyuan West Road, named "Jia Na Ma Ni". "Jia Na" means "monk"in Tibetan, and "Ma Ni" is the stones Tibetans pile together for prayer.