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Huaxia Arts and Crafts Shop is built in an antique style. Two white stone lions are keeping guard at the door. The shop specializes in old jewelry, silk embroidery, old porcelain, classical Chinese furniture, old pocket watches, etc.


Getting into the shop, a customer feels a serene and agreeable artistic atmosphere. This is all the more surprising as the street outside is very busy. The shop d¨¦cor is beautiful with gray-black stone tiles, and glass enclosures in which the jewelry and other antiques are displayed. Every article here is appealing and worthy of appreciation.


The shop carries 19th century jewelry -- such as jadeite eardrops and necklace pendants ¨C dating back from the Qing Dynasty. Delicate and lifelike embroidery works hang on the wall. Some of these embroideries were worn by imperial officials, some such as little hats were worn by children. The latter aren¡¯t expensive at between RMB 100 to RMB 200.


One of the showcases contains vials and flasks dating back one hundred to two hundreds ago. These were used to pack snuff powder which the rich people would periodically inhale for better health. One of such vials bore a mountain design etched in black ink in the ceramics: a very rare object which required extraordinary skills from the artist. This one was priced at over RMB 6,000.


I also noticed ceramic tableware: one of the objects was a saucer set composed of eight trays surrounding a centerpiece. All the trays, used to contain sugar, salt, and spices, where delicately decorated. The set also dated from the Qing Dynasty, and was in remarkable condition. Most old porcelain items on display were created during the Qing Dynasty, that is, one hundred to three hundred years ago.


The shop also offers an impressive selection of antique clockworks, in metal and porcelain.


A lot of the objects can be exported to foreign countries.


What I appreciated

Antiques of the Qing Dynasty


What customers appreciate

Old and exquisite works of art, traditional Chinese handicrafts, a place for collectors


On the east side of Wangfujing Street lies a shop named Jianhua Fur and Leather. With a history of more than 80 years, the shop mainly carries high quality fur coats and leather jackets.


Entering the shop, I found out it has a spacious shopping area. The key section features the "Snowflake" leather jackets. A middle-aged female shop assistant told me that "Snowflake" is China's Time-honored Brand, and has won the Good Quality Product Award many times.


A black leather jacket caught my eye. It was in a simple design, but the workmanship looked superb, and the leather very delicate. I touched it, and it felt very soft. The price tag for it was RMB 2,580.


Other items on display include leather handbags, purses and wallets, and Tang suits (traditional Chinese attire). Customers buying the goods could enjoy up to 20 percent discount. The shop also offers made-to-order service and fur coat processing service.


What I appreciated

Quality leather jackets, good service, famous Chinese brand


What customers appreciate

High-quality fur and leather garment made in Beijing


Together with jade ware, carved ivory, and cloisonne, lacquer rounds out "the great four traditional handicrafts" in China. Originated 1,500 years ago, lacquer was used to coat artwork or furniture, on which artists then carve layers of attractive patterns.


On my visit to Baigongfang Handicraft Museum in Beijing, I found this Beijing Carved Lacquer Ware Shop on the second floor.


Half of their articles are red-colored carved lacquer plates mounted upon a small, black wooden bracket separately. The delicate designs include the Great Wall and Dragon & Phoenix.


You can see other carved lacquer items, like red-colored peony-covered caskets and small elephant or unicorn-shaped sculptures. But what impressed me most was a wooden pair of lions. Each of them squats on a stone pedestal, with mouth widely open. They are so vividly carved that I felt they would just jump down the stone and chase me. The twin lions are priced at RMB 460.


What I appreciated

Elaborately carved lacquer ware


What customers appreciate

Traditional Chinese handicraft, fine workmanship


Speaking of tea sets, I have to mention the famous Yixing purple clay teapots. They are made of purple clay produced only in the Yixing region in Jiangsu Province. Yixing teapot is made without any glaze, so air can flow through it. This keeps the tea inside the pot from turning stale or discolored. Very useful is it during summer, by allowing the tea to remain drinkable for a long time.


Yixing purple clay teapots have been used since the Song Dynasty a thousand years ago. Nowadays, they are found all over the world, including the second floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum. There, I discovered an interesting workshop specializing in making and selling the finest purple clay teapots.


Stepping inside, I was fortunate enough to find the shop owner teaching a student how to make a tea pot. I watched for 20 minutes before I started chatting with the owner. He told me he¡¯s from Yixing, and has been making purple clay teapots for 20 years. Completing a pot usually takes him more than ten days. But these days, he makes tea pots only for fun.


In a showcase on right side shows some of the finest pots he made. He said these were some of the finest Yixing pots today, most of them are inscribed with Chinese calligraphy. Prices are high. For example, a small pot inscribed with Chinese characters "Qing Feng", or "Fresh Breeze", cost RMB 10,000.


What I appreciated

A teapot-making master


What customers appreciate

Exquisite purple clay tea pots, collector¡¯s item


Koji pottery originated from Guangdong Province during the Qing Dynasty. Traditionally the pottery was used mainly as temple and shrine adornments. However, Koji pottery is looked at now as a style of folk art for its variety of soft colors and designs.


I visited the Koji pottery shop in Baigong Handicraft Museum. Each piece combined the art of molding, engraving, painting, and firing, resulting in colorful and lively works.


What I like most were these little colorful lions in a variety of poses. The shop assistant told me they are made in Taiwan and sold at RMB 300 each.


The shop also carries some Tang Sancai, or 3-colored-glaze pottery of the Tang Dynasty. The most figures were horses in various stances (RMB 160 each). Also amazing was a small wooden folding screen, with six tourism spots of Beijing like the Great Wall and Tian¡¯anmen Square engraved (RMB 120).


What I appreciated

Koji pottery, Tang Sancai


What customers appreciate

Chinese famous pottery wares


The Chinese folk art dough figurine, or Mian Ren in Chinese, are tiny figures made of wheat flour, glutinous rice flour, bee honey, and glycerin. Unfortunately, there are very few dough figurine artists today, so it was very exciting to find so many cute and exquisite dough figurines on the second floor of Baigong Handicrafts Museum.


There is a large selection of dough figurines in the shop. Each figure, setting foot on a small wooden pedestal, is kept in a glass box.


I was enthralled by the figurine featuring two kids in traditional clothing watching cricket fight (RMB 260). Another one I like was the God of Longevity, with his bright smile, long and white beard, and a yellow robe. He holds a peach in one hand, and a long crutch in the other. This figurine cost 180 yuan.


The elderly female shop assistant told me that most of these handicrafts are made by Mr. You, a dough figurine master. His works have a prominent feature in that every figure has a vivid facial expression. She also noted that a dough figurine should be kept from sunshine. In this way, the colors of the dough figurines will not fade for at least 20 years.


What I appreciated

Elaborate dough figurines, traditional Chinese folk art


What customers appreciate

Traditional Chinese folk art, distinguished workmanship

Beijing pictures,

Cloisonn¨¦ is a kind of decorative pottery with an enamel glaze, where metal filaments are fused to the surface of an object, and outline a design filled with enamel paste. Introduced from the Middle East in the late 13th century, this art has since prospered in China from the Ming Dynasty on.


Last week on my visit to Baigong Handicraft Museum, I found this cloisonn¨¦ shop on the second floor. The shelves against walls displayed a variety of colorful cloisonn¨¦ vases. Among them, I found one called "Maple Leaves" (RMB 1600) most appealing. This vase featured red maple leaves and golden clouds vividly distributed over the white background.


In the midst of the room, I saw two middle-aged women making cloisonn¨¦ articles. They talked to me about the process while working. I was amazed. A piece of cloisonn¨¦ article requires 37 procedures to complete! This includes body shaping, filigree making, enameling, heating, and gilding.


Ranked as one of the eight consummate arts of Beijing, cloisonn¨¦ is a definitive artwork of the capital city.


What I appreciated

Unique cloisonn¨¦ articles of Beijing, cloisonn¨¦ craftsmen working on-location


What customers appreciate

Traditional handicraft of Beijing, prominent workmanship


Beijing Embroidery, also known as Palace Embroidery, was usually stitched for the royal court in ancient China. It is considered one of ¡®the eight consummate handicrafts of Beijing¡¯. To make an embroidery work, an artist would select an elaborate painting, and then stitch the pattern using needles and colorful threads of silk. The result is a vivid and beautiful pattern on fabric.


During my visit to the Baigong Handicraft Museum, I found a Beijing embroidery shop on the first floor. An elderly man welcomed me immediately upon entering the shop. As we chatted, I realized that he had been making embroideries for 50 years! I can certainly feel his experience in his works.


All embroideries on display were made by him or his apprentices. Each piece usually takes 15 days or so to make, a long, dedicated process indeed.


I found two pieces of empress¡¯ wear (RMB 490) in the style of the Qing Dynasty standing on a showcase. The bright, fine patterns of peonies and phoenixes looked very beautiful. There was also a matching emperor¡¯s dragon robe in stock.


Other items include a variety of hanging embroideries with such patterns as the Great Wall, pandas, flowers, and cranes. Each costs RMB 200. The hand-made children¡¯s tiger-head shoes, each with an embroidered lovely tiger¡¯s head, cost RMB 50 each.


What I appreciated

Exquisite embroidery, emperor¡¯s robe


What customers appreciate

Chinese traditional works of art, fine embroideries

Beijing pictures, Golden-cicada monkeys' band

The "golden-cicada monkey", made of some raw material of Chinese traditional medicine, is a handicraft unique to Beijing. The small monkey¡¯s head and limbs are made of cicada¡¯s cast-off skin, while the body is made from tender bud of a yellow magnolia, which resembles a monkey¡¯s body. The art was inadvertently created by a boy apprenticed to a doctor long ago, and has since been refined through the generations.


Yesterday afternoon, I paid a visit to a golden-cicada monkey workshop located on the second floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum. The shop owner, also a master of making golden-cicada monkeys, was busy crafting his artifacts in the center of the room. So I took a look at his large selection of lively and lovely tiny monkeys displayed on the shelves.


The monkeys were beating drums, playing soccer, eating sugar-coated haws, and many other poses. On a wooden pedestal, I saw four monkeys playing table tennis, with audience and referee too (RMB 180).


Prices start at RMB 30 for small monkeys contained within glass jars. Generally, the prices are reasonable for gifts and souvenirs.


What I appreciated

Tiny monkeys, elaborateness of the handcraft.


What customers appreciate

Well-designed golden-cicada monkeys


If you walk around the Wangfujing Food Street, you will see brightly colored red fruits on sticks. These are sugar-coated haws, or ¡°Bingtang Hulu¡± in Chinese.


Sugar-coated haw is a traditional snack of Beijing. As a local, I used to see peddlers selling sugar-coated haws on streets and lanes. So a stick of sugar-coated haws is not only a treat for my taste bud but also a treasure of the past.


The venders make the haws on the spot, so you can see the whole process yourself. They stick nine haw fruits onto a stick, bath them in sugar syrup, and then leave the syrup to harden into a shiny coating. When it cools off, the sugar coat becomes crispy, transparent and golden yellow.


A stick of sugar-coated haws only costs RMB 4. In addition, you can choose sugar-coated strawberries, orange, and pineapple, priced at RMB 8. Give this sour and sweet snack a try! I hope you like it.


What I appreciated

Sweet and sour traditional Beijing snack


What customers appreciate

Traditional Beijing snack

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Beijing Shopping: Huaxia Arts and Crafts Shop is built in an antique style. Two white stone lions are keeping guard at the door. The shop specializes in old jewelry, silk embroidery, old porcelain, classical Chinese fu...