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The art of bone carving dates back to the stone age, and is still alive today. One place to find stone carving is a shop in the Pearl Market. The shop covers a wide range of bone carvings, including necklaces, bracelets, jewelry cases, hairpins, and lifelike figurines.

The lovely animal figurines are especially eye-catching. One cute piece featured a big elephant dragging a cart on which a small elephant stood. I was amazed at its delicate design. Another one I liked was a frog with a big open mouth. It is used to collect coins.

The most complicated carvings were figurines of people in gowns. The patterns were very detailed, and required special skills to make them look archaic.

The shop also features glass cases with small ornaments. You may pick and choose from them make necklaces and bracelets.

Many bone carvings have a marked price. Price of a hairpin, for example was RMB 285. Price of people figurines cost from RMB 800 to RMB 2000. But everything is negotiable. Make sure to bargain.

What I appreciate:
Various bone carvings with fine craft

What customers appreciate:
Various bone carvings, negotiable price


Element is the only jewelry shop in Beijing which sells rare mineral crystals and meteorites, as well as jewelry made of these precious ores. The shop is located on Tobacco Pipe Lane, in the Shi Cha Hai area.

Lots of mineral species, such as fluorite, cinnabar and pyrite, can be found here. You can find regarding each piece. Some are even said to have the mysterious power to be able to bring people good luck.

The owner showed me one particularly special mineral crystal. It came from a mine in the Sichuan Province, where the earthquake hit this year. He said the mine was destroyed during the quake, so this crystal has become incredibly rare.

Prices of mineral crystals are from RMB 1000 to RMB 3000. One fluorite I particularly liked, which resembles rock candy, costs RMB 2000.

Among the collection of meteorites, most are imported from other countries, and came to Earth this year. How would you like to wear a ring made of meteorite? You may choose any meteorite in the shop, and have them create a ring for you.

The shop also sells jewelry made of diamond, jade, emerald, and other precious stones.

Prices are negotiable.

The shop owner speaks excellent English. Feel free to ask him anything you need.

What I appreciate:
Beautiful ores, warm-hearted shop owner

What customers appreciate:
Rare mineral crystals to collect


Sunny Embroidery, a fashionable embroidery shop, is located in 798 Art Zone. Like many other shops in this modern art area, Sunny Embroidery is distinguished with its unique embroidery of posh style.

The owner, Ms. Li, opened this shop with her Australian business partner. Her embroidery works mix modern western style with traditional Chinese art. She told me that for this reason, many of her customers are from overseas.

I first found an eye-catching embroidery based on the artwork of Van Gogh. It looks just the same as the original one, except embroidered. Many items here are based on western themes.

Then I noticed a photo of a British man holding his embroidery with the word "nothing". I asked Ms. Li why she made that. She told me that a British man came and asked for an embroidery of the word "nothing." As Sunny Embroidery accepts custom orders, she agreed. She learned that in Britain, the word "nothing" sometimes has the special meaning. When it's read in the mirror, you can see the converse word of "nothing". So it is in fact, something.

There are also some other embroideries. Some are based on the murals of Naxi Nationality. Some are done on lotus feet shoes. They make good souvenirs.

As the shop takes custom orders. Some customers send their pictures or postcards to the shop to have their embroidery work done.

What I appreciate:
The traditional Chinese art demonstrated in a stylish way

What customers appreciate:
Fine craft, easy to communicate with the shop owner in English


Following the aroma of tea on Ma Lian Dao Street, I came to Man Tang Xiang, a large tea shop holding many types of famous teas, as well as exquisite tea sets. Entering the gate of Man Tang Xiang, I was astonished at its size. It occupied the whole fourth floor of the Beijing International Tea Town building.

What I really liked was how Man Tang Xiang offered details for each tea type they sell, including beautiful legends and history. For example, take the tea Da Hong Pao, which literally means "red robe". The name originated from a red-robed scholar, who miraculously recovered from his illness after he drank this tea.

In one section of Man Tang Xiang, I took notice of the green tea with a very clear green color. Its straight leaves look like the leaves of bamboos. It's called Zhu Ye Qing, and made in the famou Emei Mountain of Sichuan Province.

In addition to teas, they also offer tea sets. The most extraordinary tea sets were made of jade. It's said that jade could purify the water to make the tea more tasteful.

If you're tired after looking around, sit down at the cozy teahouse to experience the colorful tea culture. You, may also choose to read in the tea museum, or enjoy live classical Guzheng music performances at the music section.

Teas cost from anywhere from RMB 30 to RMB 1000 per 100 grams.

What I appreciate:
Splendid tea culture exhibition

What customers appreciate:
Various famous tea offered at reasonable price


Wuyuan, known as the most beautiful village in China, is also famous for its great-tasting green tea. I recently visited Gui Shi Shao Cha, a tea shop on Ma Lian Dao Street with quality green tea from this beautiful village.

When I entered the shop, a hospitable shop assistant greeted me. She showed me several types of green tea. The one name that jumped out at me was the "Lu Mountain Cloud and Mist Tea." This tea comes from the Lu Mountains, where clouds and mists cover its peaks year round. The large tea leaves are twisted with a delicate jade green color.

The shop assistant brewed a glass for me. She said to use water at about 80 degrees Celsius, and you can smell its sweet mountain aroma. The leaves can be brewed four times. The second or third the third time usually tastes the best.
Another type of green tea is called "Gou Gu Nao", which literally means "a dog head". This tea is also named after its mountain, one with a funny peak that looks like a dog's head.

Prices of the green tea vary from RMB 40 per 100 grams to RMB 70 per 100 grams.

What I appreciate:
Green tea grows in the mountainous area without pollution

What customers appreciate:
Quality green tea


With about 200 years of history, Huang Tang Tea used to be the local tribute to emperors. Produced in Zhejiang Province's Wenzhou city. Huang Tang tea - literally means "yellow soup" ¨C is a type of yellow tea. I visited a shop featuring Huang Tang Tea on the largest tea street in North China, Ma Lian Dao.

The warmhearted shop owner made me a cup of tea while she talked about her special yellow tea. It grows in the beautiful mountainous area, far away from any pollution. The tea leaves are collected and processed at the beginning of April by hand. In order to keep them fresh, Huang Tang Tea need to be put into a refrigerator.

I noticed that at first, the tea leaves looked very similar to those of green tea. Only after a while the tea soup becomes gradually light yellow. So make sure to let it sit for a while. The tea tastes light and a bit sweet.

Prices vary from RMB 40 to RMB 100 per 100 grams.

To compliment the teas, there was also some exquisite porcelain tea sets produced in Jingdezhen. They cost RMB 200 to RMB 1500.

What I appreciate:
Quality tea, warmhearted saleswoman

What customers appreciate:
Quality tea, delicate porcelain teasets


For over 5000 years, Shiwan ceramic technique sculpted life-like figurines. Shiwan, a county in Guangdong Province, is famously called "the Ceramic Capital of Southern China".

A few days ago I visited Yi Ding Xuan, a shop featuring this great folk art in the Pearl Market. While entering the shop, I saw many tourists, foreign and Chinese, attracted by those colorful figurines. Figures of women account for a majority of figurines displayed. These figures demonstrate the exquisite skills of sculptors and are characterized by their vivid and human qualities.

I especially like the figurines depicting life in late 19 century. The statue of a couple with their baby show happiness of the family. Another one of a lady with her abacus in hands seemed to show her satisfaction with good business. The third one had a mother reading a book for her son, showing her high expectation for the. Each statue is unique, and tells a story.

The owner of the shop told me that the most outstanding characteristic of Shiwan ceramic art is the rich glazing colors, among which white, red and blue are quite popular.

The prices of the ceramic figurines are from RMB 150 to RMB 400.

What I appreciate:
Handmade sculptures depicting lively figures and animals

What customers appreciate:
Life-like figurines reflecting Chinese culture and history


798 Art Zone holds lots of avant-garde and trendy studios and shops, like Hong Dian Xuan. Here you'll find traditional pots and vases made from simple threads.

The owner of Hong Dian Xuan used to be a collector of antiques. As a lover of old Chinese art and culture, he created this very special weaving technique. He would use one or two continuous strand of either cotton or hemp, and weave them into large pots and vases. Usually it takes three weeks to accomplish one piece. The more strands involved, the more complicated it is.

One fabric weaved with blue and golden strings attracted my attention. It looked like a bronze item produced thousands of years ago. The owner said he wanted to introduce the art of ancient Chinese bronze, pottery and porcelain in his own way.

Not everything is realistic though. There are also potteries carved with funny facial expressions.

Even though the pots and vases are made of fabrics, they can stand firmly on the table.

What I appreciate:
Unique weave technique

What customers appreciate:
Fabric pots with full elements of ancient Chinese culture


The "Four Treasures of the Study", namely the ink brush, the ink stick, paper, and inkstone£¬are indispensable to any Chinese calligrapher. Chun An Tang in 798 Art Zone is a good place to discover these treasures.

The couplet of Chinese calligraphy, which roughly means ¡°Traditional art brings you happiness¡±, on the storefront caught my eyes. It showed the owner¡¯s deep appreciation of art.

Entering the shop, I saw Mr. Miao, the owner, chatting with some customers and showing them his ink brushes. He is proud of his ink brushes, as they are all made by Mr. Li Xiaoping, a very famous crafter. As he and I talked, Mr. Miao told me how to judge a good brush. The tip, he said, should always have a pleasing shape and enough elasticity, yet does not split. Mr. Miao also let his customers try out each brush through writing, before they buy it.

Inkstones in Chun An Tang come from Wuyuan of Jiangxi province. Wuyuan is a cradle of "She Inkstone", one of four renowned inkstones in China.

Prices of the brush pens vary from RMB 300 to RMB 580. And inkstones are sold from RMB 800 to RMB 1800.

What I appreciate:
Good brush pen

What customers appreciate:
Brush pen and inkstone


With a history of more than 160 years, Clay Figurine Zhang is a famous brand in clay sculpture circle. Since Mr. Zhang Mingshan created this fantastic skill in the mid 19 century, five generations from Zhang's family have witnessed the development of this art.

I visited a studio of Clay Figurine Zhang in Bai Gong Fang. Inside I saw many lively clay figurines depicting different characters from the folklores, classical literature works, and Peking Operas.

I especially like a group of clay sculptures featuring three old men sitting around a little table, tasting tea. Even the biggest figurine is no more than 40 cm high. The cute figurines make easy to be collected and kept on the shelf or desk.

The most remarkable character of Clay Figurine Zhang is its unique workmanship. The head and hands of a figurine are removable and can be separated from the main body. So the body parts won¡¯t be broken during transportation.

Prices of figurines are from RMB 20 to RMB 200.

What I appreciate:
Wide choices of styles and sizes.

What customers appreciate:
Patented clay figurines, wonderful workmanship

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Beijing Shopping: The art of bone carving dates back to the stone age, and is still alive today. One place to find stone carving is a shop in the Pearl Market. The shop covers a wide range of bone carvings, including n...