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¡°Mainstream lacquer sculpture¡± is a treasure of traditional arts and crafts in Minnan of southern China, where it has enjoyed popularity over the past three hundred years. It combines the essences of the elegance of Jingdezhen porcelain, the charm of Fuzhou bodiless lacquer, and the splendor of Beijing cloisonn¨¦. Gold and silver-plated, its image is splendid and quite worthy of collection and appreciation.


On the first floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum, I discovered a shop selling mainstream lacquer ware. The shelves facing entrance show a variety of sculpted lacquer plates. Each of the 8 cm diameter plates is mounted on a black wooden pedestal, and elaborately carved with red, beautiful lacquer patterns. You may choose from golden dragon or phoenix. Each one cost RMB 780.


Besides lacquer ware, the shop also carries red porcelain vases as well as commemorative coins for 2008, the Year of the Mouse and the Beijing Olympic Games.


What I appreciated

Exquisite lacquer ware, commemorative coins


What customers appreciate

Fine lacquer plates, good workmanship


Kappa is a world-famous sportswear brand from Italy. Now the brand has been well-accepted by Beijing youngsters for its good quality and reasonable price. I visited the outlet on the north side of Tiyuguan Lu, which opened just recently.


The shop features casual sportswear like jogging pants, cuffs, head bands, waist packs, and sportshoes. In addition, T-shirts are also on sale.


I noticed a white-colored T-shirt priced at RMB 268. Made of 95 percent of cotton and 5 percent of urethane elastic fiber, the T-shirt has good ventilation property. The Italian national flag is sewn on the left chest while the logo of Kappa, with a man and a woman sitting back to back against each other, sewn on the right chest.


Prices of items range from a pair of RMB 20 socks to RMB 398 for a pair of cotton jogging pants. The shop always has many styles on sale.


What I appreciated

Well designed, good fabric


What customers appreciate

World-famous sportswear brand, high quality

Beijing pictures, Ivory-carving jewelry

As a naturally perfect sculpture material, ivory features not only solid, compact texture, but also gem-like luster. Elaborate ivory handicrafts are art treasures that transcend time. It has been considered one of "the eight consummate handicrafts of Beijing" since the Ming Dynasty.


Beijing ivory artifacts feature folktales, legends, ancient celebrities, plants and animals, and nature. However, they are rarely found today, due to the Ban on International Trade in Endangered Species. Today, ivory carvers instead turn to bone carving or rosewood carving.


On the first floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum I recently found a shop featuring both ivory and rosewood carvings. The central showcase presented a milky white ivory necklace containing 3 bead strings for RMB 2,000. Other ivory jewelry included a bracelet made of ivory beads for RMB 450, while another band stringed with elaborate Buddha heads cost RMB 2,000.


According to the shop assistant, all these ivory jewelries were made before the ban. However, customers can also admire their big ivory sculptures on display, including Tiger Running down the Mountain, 500 Buddhist Arhats, and Running Horses.


As centerpieces, the shop also presents two large rosewood sculptures. One is ¡°the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest¡± of the Temple of Heaven, the other is "the Nine-dragon Screen" of Beihai Park.


What I appreciated

Exquisite ivory carving and rosewood carving works


What customers appreciate

Beijing ivory carving, rosewood carving

Beijing pictures, Paper-cut works 1

Paper-cut is a time-honored Chinese folk art. In the past, people used to post red-colored paper-cut works on doors, windows or furniture as decoration, hoping to keep evils away and bring happiness.


Nowadays, artisans endow the folk art with more colorful ideas and modern interpretations. Much more complicated designs of paper-cut have been created by skillful hands, paper, and scissors.


I visited the paper-cut shop on the second floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum. Walking into the shop, I was shocked that a thin piece of paper could be turned into such delicate artworks with shapes of landscape, ancient characters, birds and flowers¡­


I like the Chinese Zodiac bookmarks very much. The twelve animals look vividly and lovely. A set of them costs only RMB 38.


The owner, also a paper-cut master, told me that most of the items inside are under RMB 100. Plus, they¡¯re negotiable.


What I appreciated

Vivid paper-cut works, skillful workmanship


What customers appreciate

Unique Chinese handicraft, fit for present

Beijing pictures, Bone carvings 1

Coarse tools and ornaments made of beast bones make up some of the most ancient artifacts in history. Nowadays, the carved bone ware is one of the finest type of Chinese traditional arts and crafts. With Chinese artisan¡¯s skillful workmanship, animal bones turn vivid, solid figurines.


I found a bone carving shop on the first floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum. The showcase displayed various ivory-colored small bone carvings. They were crafted into animal shapes, displaying images such as owl catching a mouse and monkey picking a peach.


The one most attractive to me was carving of a snake raising its long, coiled body. The shop assistant told me that it was made of a hippo¡¯s tooth, and cost 450 yuan.


Most carvings use cattle or camel bone, which are specially processed and cut into pieces before being carved. Due to wildlife protection policies, handicraft masters no longer deal with ivory carvings, and now carve bones exclusively.


According to the shop owner, all carvings are done in-house, with 7 or 8 craftsmen working full time. He also showed me some small, elaborate boxwood carvings of animals like unicorn, dragon, and horse. My favorite was an exquisite crocodile (RMB 50).


What I appreciated

Workmanship, crocodile boxwood carving


What customers appreciate

Fine artifacts, consummate workmanship

Beijing pictures, Shoushan stone seals

Shoushan stone is named after its place of origin, Shou Mountain in southeast China. Made from a crystal of aluminum and silicon, there exists more than 200 varieties. The most valuable ones have fine smooth texture and magnificent colors. Shoushan stone carving came into being sixteen hundred years ago, and now fills a unique niche among precious stones.


I saw firsthand what the stones could turn into treasure in the hands of a skilled handicraft master, when I visited the Shoushan carving studio in Baigong Handicraft Museum. A showcase lined up numerous types of seals made of Shoushan stone. They were in white, red, and yellow, with a unicorn or one of the twelve Chinese zodiac animals carved on top.


You could choose to have your name engraved on the bottom of a seal. Then pick up the finished product the next day. Each seal cost RMB 300 to 500.


There are other items offered in the shop. A velvet showcase, for example, housed small, lovely boxwood sculptures in the shape of mystic and real animals. Each elaborately carved, and cost RMB 100.


What I appreciated

Shoushan stone seals with Chinese zodiac animals


What customers appreciate

Unique Chinese Shoushan stone seals

Beijing pictures,

Chinese Liuli, or "colored glaze", is a perfect integration of ancient culture and modern art. With over two thousand years of history, Liuli is currently made using dewaxed casting with artificial crystal. The entire long process may take up to 20 days for each figurine. Each piece must be exquisite, bright and limpid.


On the first floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum lies a shop named BaiYiDeKun Liuli Fang, which specializes in Liuli products. I found mostly a large variety of necklace pendants and colorful bracelets on display. According to shop assistant, Liuli is very durable, as hard as jade. Their best-selling item is a pendant called "Yuan Meng", which means ¡®realizing one¡¯s dream¡¯. It is a glittering, translucent blue circular ring, matched with a 14K white gold necklace. I found it graceful and mysterious, and could see why it was so popular. Price was RMB 480.


Another pendant caught my eye is called Loving Heart (RMB 365), especially the cherub with open wings inscribed within.


Not all jewelry inside are this expensive. The shop also carries some craftworks fit for present or souvenir, such as a Peking Opera-decorated small folding screen, for under RMB 100.


What I appreciated

Graceful necklace pendants, colored glaze


What customers appreciate

Colored glaze jewelry, Chinese handicraft

Beijing pictures, Jade necklace pendants

Beijing jade sculpture may be traced back to the Neolithic Age, and known as one of the "eight greatest handicrafts of Beijing." There are many types of jade stones, including white jade, jasper, celadon jade, crystal, amethystine quartz, etc. These stones, though, can be of a priceless art treasure only after fine design and masterly work. One such studio which does such fine work locates on the first floor of Baigong Handicraft Museum.


This jade carving studio sells both uncut jade stones and elaborate jade articles. On my visit to the shop, elaborate jade pendants seemed to be the feature. They have Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, for men and Buddha for women. Another common design is Pi Xiu, a chimera-like legendary animal that love to devour and keep treasures.


For a western style, I found a jade cross for RMB 680. Bracelets made of green jade or red agate are available as well, with prices ranging from RMB 400 to RMB 600 each.


Make sure you look at the valuable jade sculptures like cabbage, and maize, on display while you¡¯re there.


What I appreciated

Exquisite jade ware, jade sculpture display


What customers appreciate

Wide selections, studio let you understand the craft


As one of the most popular sportswear brands in Beijing, Nike usually does not give discounts on their products. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Nike Factory Store offered special rates every day on much of their selection. So I visited its outlet on the east side of Maliandao Street in Xuanwu District.


This Nike store was spacious, with many products to choose from. This included sports wears, sports shoes, bags, and balls. As I circled around the store, I found many sportswear at 50-70% off, and many sports shoe models at 30% off.


In the men¡¯s section, a blue blazer with a white strip on the sides caught my attention. It felt very light and flexible. After 50% discount, it was only RMB 249.


Among the other on-sale items, I found a red, thick winter jacket with the logo of ¡°Manchester United¡± for only RMB 779. A pair of running socks with Dri-Fit technology, which keeps your feet dry when jogging, cost RMB 41. I also liked a pair of Bowerman series running shoes with zoom air sole. After the 30% discount, one pair only costs RMB 429.


Overall, the shop offers some of the best prices and selection for Nike products in Beijing.


What I appreciated

Nike merchandise, special reduced prices.


What customers appreciate

Large selection of Nike products, preferential prices.


If you speak to men in Beijing, chances are he knows Septwolves, a popular quality men¡¯s wear brand. Made in Fujian Province, Septwolves presents designs that show refinement and fortitude. I visited one of their franchised shops on the south side of Nansanhuan Donglu.


Upon entering, I was met by a shelf of casual pants in blue, black, and gray. All were made with 100% cotton, with nanotechnology applied to the fabric to make it oil-proof, stain-proof, and waterproof. The special price was RMB 180 each. Their T-shirts (RMB 319) were also made of pure cotton, and had great ventilation. Hues included white, orange and blue.


I found one particular jacket to my liking. It had a black exterior and red interior side, but can be worn inside-out. The fabric is made of cotton. As a new model, it had the regular price of RMB 779.


The shop also sells accessories such as men¡¯s socks and leather belts. Prices for belts were RMB 118 and RMB 158, while a pair of socks cost RMB 38.


What I appreciated

High quality men¡¯s wear


What customers appreciate

Designer brand, high quality

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Beijing Shopping: "Mainstream lacquer sculpture" is a treasure of traditional arts and crafts in Minnan of southern China, where it has enjoyed popularity over the past three hundred years. It combines the essences of ...