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Pure handmade carpets and tapestries are rarely seen these days. So I was surprised to find Wu Xin Zhai, a shop on Liang Ma Qiao Road which features quality handmade carpets and tapestries.

The wool tapestries hung on the wall were especially nice. They felt soft and warm, and sported a beautiful luster. The shop assistant said the wool is sheep hair from the Tibet Plateaus.

My favorite tapestry had a beautiful pattern featuring a nobleman with his attendants hunting in the mountain. It's typical European style. A nice looking Chinese carpet lied to its side, and featured patterns of peony flowers, which symbolize wealth and honor.

The shop offers carpets and tapestries of various sizes, from 3 x 5 feet, to 9 x 12 feet. Price of wool carpets or tapestries is RMB 150 per square foot. Silk ones cost RMB 250 per square foot.

They also take custom orders, but they can take a long time. For example, a 40 square feet piece would take at least three months to accomplish. As every step, even spinning the wool into thread, is done by hand, the work very time-consuming.

There are also some furniture with antique looks in the shop.

What I appreciate:
Handmade works, fine craft

What customers appreciate:
Quality handmade works, beautiful tapestries and carpets


Wei Sheng Hang, a shop in 798 Art Zone, holds various handmade curiosities from Taiwan.

One of the first items inside which I found interesting was "Tales by Pave". This is an impressive series of stone carvings and paintings. The stone carvings depict stories about the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses and those from Buddhism. Each stone is about 8 x 6 inches. The stones are light and used to hang on walls. The black stone carvings contain charcoal bamboo, which can purify the air surrounding it. Price is about RMB 450.

Their colorful stone paintings feature the imitations of paintings collected at Taipei's Palace Museum. Prices vary from RMB 450 to RMB 890.

The exquisite porcelain paintings are another curiosity at Wei Sheng Hang. They are artworks of a female artist who started her art career by painting on glass. Eventually, she made a career out of painting on porcelain. Price is RMB 662.

The shop also offers the beautiful celadon tea sets and the cloth-made figurines, handbags, and pillows.

What I appreciate:
Handmade artworks

What customers appreciate:
Precious artworks, special technique


If you're looking for old antiques, Ba Shu Tang at the Bo Gu Yi Yuan antique market won't disappoint you. The owner of Ba Shu Tang has been collecting antiques for 30 years, with thousands of collectible items from all over China.

Most of his collections are porcelains and potteries. They come in various forms such as food containers, vases, basins, tea sets, brush vases, and ink stones.  The columnar porcelains with beautiful traditional Chinese paintings attracted me so much. I thought they were containers. But the owner said they were used to hang hats in ancient China.

The various brush pots are also fascinating. Some look like teapots with several little holes. The holes were for placing brushes. Ink or water contained inside of the pots would keep brushes from becoming dry. They are all several hundred years old.

Ever wondered how people in ancient China ironed their clothes? I found an iron which looked like a ladle for scooping water. While the clothes are being ironed, charcoal burns inside to make the bottom hot enough. And one would put a wooden stick into the hole to protect the hand from the heat.

Price of antique varies a lot, from RMB 300 to RMB 10,000.

What I appreciate:
Various antiques, reliable shop owner with rich experience in appraising antiques

What customers appreciate:
Precious curios


Have you thought about turning your photos into beautiful oil paintings? In Bo Gu Yi Yuan Antique Market, I found a studio offering this service. The studio name is Cai Ze Ren Sheng, which means "colorful life".

Upon entering the studio, I saw an artist painting a Tibetan girl. To the side was a photo of her. I was touched by the girl's facial expressions, depicted in detail by the painting. Her colorful Tibetan costume looked even more vivid in the painting than in the photo.

The artist got up, and introduced himself to me as the owner, Wang Zeyuan. Mr. Wang then explained to me about his paintings. They are typically 3.5 ft by 2.3 ft. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to finish a piece. However, family photos will take a bit longer.

Price is RMB 3000 for the default sized painting. Customers can ask for a smaller piece for a cheaper price.

Mr. Wang is also good at drawing the landscape of nature. Some of his oil paintings are hung on the wall, for RMB 1000 each. If you like a particular scenery, send him your postcard and to have a fine oil painting done in its likeness.

Mr. Wang occasionally receives overseas customers. Communication is not a problem, nor is overseas shipment.

What I appreciate:
Oil paintings of one's own photos

What customers appreciate:
Reasonable price, overseas shipment


Oroqen is an old ethnic minority group living in Xing'an Mountains of Inner Mongolia. Living under harsh environments, they have learned to use barks from Birch trees to make all kinds of items, such as cases, hats, handbags, baskets, and boats. Chanyu Group, a shop amidst the tech-heavy Zhong Guan Cun area, has a colorful display of these beautiful handicrafts.

Cases in a variety of forms highlight the shop. They come in various shapes and sizes, including that of a drum, a bowl, and even a heart. They can be used to hold food, jewel, pencil, or anything else you like. The bark is very durable, and will last a long time.

In fact, the shop owner, who is an Oroqen, personally vouched for the durability of the bark. She said an Oroqen family would use utensils made of Birch bark for hundreds of years.

Prices of cases vary from RMB 20 to RMB 500, depending on the sizes and intricacy. Hats and handbags are priced from RMB 100 to RMB 300.

The shop wall hung paintings of Oroqen's landscape, such as one depicting a wolf walking though the forests of Xing'an Mountains. The paintings are produced on birch wood using pyrography, which paints through the use of fire.

What I appreciate:
Unique technique, beautiful design

What customers appreciate:
Special handicrafts, ethnic art


Suzhou Embroidery is one of the four most renowned embroidery techniques in China, dating back over 2000 years. Chi Lin Embroidery, located on Tobacco Pipe Lane, holds an abundance of Suzhou Embroidery featuring delicate needlework and intricate images.

I was most enamored with their double-sided embroideries. Take a particular piece called "Cats on Both Sides". When you look at one side, the cat is in green and white. But turn to the other side, and the color became yellow and white. Another piece managed to stitch the image of two leopards on one side, and an image of two tigers on the other.

The owner of the shop is a Suzhou local, with her very own factory there. Everything in the shop comes from her factory. She says the big difference among Suzhou Embroidery and embroidery in other areas is its unique stitching. Sometimes 20 different silk threads are needed to make just the shadow on the face of a portrait. And a piece of silk thread is divided into as many as 48 pieces until the thread is hardly visible.

The shop takes custom orders. Their artists will tackle any image you wish to see embroidered.

What I appreciate:
Detailed needlework, superb craftsmanship

What Customer appreciate:
Superb craftsmanship, intricate images


Little Rabbit, a little shop in Cheng Fu Street, holds a large variety of folk handicrafts collected from the rural areas of Northwestern China.

Cloth items are most eye-catching when I looked inside. Each one is finely made with beautiful embroidery. They come in different forms: toys, children's pillows, fragrant pouches, shoes, to name a few. The little dangling charms with the colorful animal images sold the best. Price is around RMB 20 each.

I also saw some fragrant pouches, which is rare in cities nowadays. With perfume and some Chinese herbal medicine inside, the pouches smell sweet and supposedly repel evil spirits too. Younger folks use it as a token of love. Price is about RMB 25.

Looking at the shelves, they were fully occupied by the lovely clay or porcelain figurines of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. Prices vary from RMB 30 to RMB 45.

Other items inside the shop include paper-cuttings, paper fans, farmerĄ¯s paintings, and shadow puppets

The owner was a former English teacher, so she can speak good English.

What I appreciate:
Precious handicrafts made by country folks

What customers appreciate:
Beautiful handicrafts, learn about folk culture


Pyrography is creating art by burning an image onto various materials, like paper, silk, wood, and leather. In China, this art has been around for over three hundred years. And in Beijing today, one of the best in the business is Mr. Luo Chengxiang, a talented artist with a studio at Bai Gong Fang ¨C the Handicraft Museum.

I visited his studio recently. At the first glance, his works look similar to Chinese watercolor paintings. But upon closer inspection, I realized that it's raised on top of the surface. This gives more of a three-dimensional feel to the piece.

Mr. Luo started learning traditional Chinese painting at the age of six, and has had 50 years of experience with pyrography. One of his best works, called "The Great Wall" was collected by the President of Finland.

When I noticed how heavy his heavy brush weighed (half a pound), he told me that he has used it for thirty years, and he's used to it.

Mr. Luo, like many other studio owners here at the Handicraft Museum, works for the love of art. He opened this studio here also to allow people to enjoy these works of art. And often, Mr. Luo would make pieces for retired people for free.

Prices are not expensive. Some can be bought for only RMB 100.

What I appreciate:
Rare art worth collecting

What customers appreciate:
Work done by a master of the trade, beautiful art works


Unlike diamond or most other precious gems, Pearls is a jewelry designed only for women. Wearing pearls let ladies look more feminine and gentle.

The best Pearl shop in Beijing is Fang Hua Pearls & Jewelry. I visited one of its shops in the Pearl Market. Photos hung on the wall caught my attention immediately upon entering the shop. You can find many celebrities like Margaret Thatcher and Cherie Blair among them. They came to Fang Hua to select pearls during their visit to China. In fact over one hundred leaders with their wives from other countries have visited Fang Hua.

How to select pearls? A good pearl can be told from its shape, luster and color. The best is the one which is round, and can mirror images reflected on it. I especially like a necklace of pearls with jade green. It's suitable for ladies working at office. The black pearls imported from Maldives are also appealing. But they are very costly because a black pearl is so rare.

Each necklace of pearls costs at least several thousand yuan.

What I appreciate:
Beautiful pearls jewelry with good quality

What customers appreciate:
Quality pearls jewelry, famous shop


Like red wine, Pu'er tea produced in the tropic area of Yunnan Province gets better with age. Known as "medicinal tea", it can help reduce cholesterol and lower your weight.

Da De Sheng Cha Hao, a tea shop in Ma Lian Dao street offers the quality Pu'er tea. Entering the shop, I was first attracted by those unique packages. Some are packed with paper, some are with cloth, and some are held in the bamboo-made basket. The owner told me the different packages of Pu'er tea meant these teas were produced in different times, as his shop offers Pu'er tea from the past 20 years.

One type of package I liked is called "Qi Zi Bing", which literally means "seven pieces of cake". Because each package contains seven pieces of tea, and shaped like a cake.

Another package is in the shape of bricks. They are very hard, and requires a knife to cut out the tea leaves. This is a traditional form of packaging for Pu'er tea, as it allows for easier transport from the mountains where they're made, to the towns where they're sold

Prices vary from RMB 50 to RMB 250 per 100 grams.

What I appreciate:
Quality Pu'er tea with various types

What customers appreciate:
Healthy Pu'er tea at reasonable prices

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Beijing Shopping: Pure handmade carpets and tapestries are rarely seen these days. So I was surprised to find Wu Xin Zhai, a shop on Liang Ma Qiao Road which features quality handmade carpets and tapestries.