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On my visit to the fifth floor of Bairong World Trade Center, a shop full of decorations reflecting rural people and the old Beijing image caught my eye. I didn't hesitate to step in.


A shop assistant greeted me and told me that this was the wholesale department of Xiangrong Art Studio. This venue features two rooms - one for pottery decorations, the other for paintings. All the works here are made by folk artists.


I liked their decorations, for they reminded me of the old Beijing. Some of their displays are miniature gates of the old Beijing courtyards. I spent my childhood in a traditional courtyard not far from Tian¡¯anmen Square, so these miniature gates really brought back old memories. The grey bricks, the wooden gates, the gate piers, even the patches of moss, are all reminiscent of my old life long gone now. Miniature courtyard gates were priced at RMB 150 or 180.


A miniature village courtyard looked lovely too. The enclosure was built of stones, and on the front wall of the cottage hung strings of golden maize and red peppers. The villagers, made of pottery, looked quite happy in their simple clothes.


Each of their items is original and unique, so I bet you will not regret taking a visit to this outlet.


What I appreciated

Folk art, original design


What customers appreciate

The old Beijing style, and rural style

Beijing pictures, the art of fire

As the oldest slanted lane in Beijing, Yandai Xiejie still retains its traditional style, and attracts a number of domestic and overseas travelers every day. On my visit there recently, I found a unique small shop called "Feng Nian Tao Fang", which features homemade pottery. In Chinese, "Feng Nian" means "a good harvest year", and "Tao Fang" means "a studio making pottery"


The shop keeper, Mr. Liu, was easy to talk with. My new friend introduced that he started learning to draw ten years ago, hoping to become an artist.


Eight years later, that dream came true when he made up his mind, came to Beijing, and opened this shop with his beloved wife. Since then, he has been designing and crafting earthenware himself, which you can find all over the shop. His original, exclusive works reflect his powerful and unbridled imagination.


One of his favorite works depicts a beaming man in thick clothes and hat, making a bow with hands folded in front. This is a common gesture to congratulate someone in the Chinese culture. Around his neck hangs a copper coin. It is entitled "Congratulations for Getting Rich".


I also discovered a lot of colorful plates and figurines with fish designs on walls. Mr. Liu told me that thousands of years ago, our ancestors regarded fish as a totem. Therefore, they are used for praying for continued prosperity.


The shop also carries various Peking opera facial masks, and exquisite vases in different sizes and colors. Mr. Liu can speak some English for communication.


What I appreciated

Homemade pottery, traditional Chinese culture


What customers appreciate

Original designs, delicate handicrafts


Opposite of Temple of Heaven¡¯s east gate, you can see many shops selling traditional handicrafts in the Hongqiao Market. One stall, called Dajing Pottery caught my attention, as it had such beautiful potteries displayed on the shelves.

At first glance, I thought the items were wood-carvings, as the designs were so vivid. Each piece of pottery, made in the Henan Province, had its own unique design. The owner of this stall told me that they only sell their own brand of Dajing pottery, renowned for its completely hand wrought process. It combines the art of modeling, painting and carving together. Then it¡¯s fired at 1300 degrees Celsius, so pottery can last long time without any change in the pattern or color.

I especially like the one pottery which depicted a city bustling with people walking on the bridge. The design is based on a famous painting call the Scroll of Pure Brightness Festival on the River.

Prices of potteries range from RMB 200 to RMB 1000.

Besides pottery, the stall also offers some other handicrafts like fans, chopsticks, wood carvings, and bronze carvings.

What I appreciate:
Completely hand-made potteries with fine workmanship

What customers appreciate:
Unique patterns on the potteries, wide choices of styles


Ever thought about making your own pottery? Think it¡¯s difficult? Actually, basic pottery-making is not as hard as you may think. And if you¡¯re interested in giving it a try, check out ShuiGuiQi Art Studio on JiuGulLou Street. This is a great place to create your very own pots.

Upon entering into the studio, I find that the gallery is stocked with a variety of exquisite and lovely works. Some are produced in-house by the owner, others come from guest pottery-makers from all over the world. At the end of the gallery is the studio where you can make your own pottery works.

The owner will tell you some basic knowledge about the pottery making and teach you some skills. Though the mistress does not speak English, she can still teach you through demonstration. The price is RMB 50 per hour, and RMB 10 per design item. If you are satisfied with your own work, you can pay another RMB 20 to take it home.

What I appreciate

Pottery DIY and patient teacher

What customers appreciate

Pottery DIY and patient mistress

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Beijing Shopping: On my visit to the fifth floor of Bairong World Trade Center, a shop full of decorations reflecting rural people and the old Beijing image caught my eye. I didn't hesitate to step in.