The Miao are one of the most fascinating ethnic minorities in China. Recently, I found a Miao handicrafts shop on Yandai Xiejie. I was impressed by their silver ornaments and wax printing works.
The shop owner Mr. Zhang was dressed in the Miao traditional dress. He told me that Miao silver ornaments have a history of 400 years. The Miao have a variety of items that can brighten up your look from head to toe: silver headdresses, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, clothing accessories, waistbands, and anklets.
Miao girls are very partial to silver jewelry, as they see silver as a symbol of purity. And according to Miao customs, the larger, heavier, and more plentiful silver ornaments are considered the most beautiful.
Mr. Zhang showed me a pair of silver earrings. They feature long, beautiful twin birds. The silver threads are as thin as hair. Every detail is so fine.
The headdresses looked pretty heavy. I was afraid to wear any one of them, and it¡¯s not a good idea if you have a slender neck.
The blue cloth items with white patterns are actually wax printings. The patterns show beautiful flowers and Miao girls.
The cloth is made in a unique way: they draw an image on a piece of fabric with wax, and dip the fabric into a vat that contains dark blue dye. The parts of the fabric with wax cannot be dyed, so it will show off a gorgeous white pattern when the wax is removed.
At last, here¡¯s a tip to identify a real wax printing: Take a close look at a real wax painting work, you will find a number of fine, irregular blue crackles on the white area. They are caused when folding the wax-covered area, and the blue dye seizes the opportunity to permeate through the cracks.
What I appreciated
Unique arts and crafts of the Miao minority, the Miao silver jewelry
What customers appreciate
Exquisite silver ornaments, superb craftsmanship
It¡¯s rare to find an authentic antique furniture shop in Beijing. Many such shops open in the Sanlitun area, like Feng Qi Wu. This mid-sized show has an old-fashioned storefront, with various tables, cabinets, armories, screens, and numerous other types of old, weathered furniture. All of them are fabulous, and the selection is quite good for an antique furniture shop.
Prices for the products there range from RMB 500 to RMB 30,000. The shop owner indicated that all his collections are purchased from Shanxi province, famous for its exquisite antique furniture.
The shop also carries traditional musical instrument such as zither and pipa, although if you¡¯ll need some lessons to play them yourself. In addition, ladies choose dozens of types of silver ornaments used by Miao minority group in southern China.
The ambiance is tranquil, and you can choose from the myriads of products without disturbance. Shop assistants are experienced in dealing with foreign customers, so there is no need to worry about the communication.
What I appreciate
The old zither
What customers appreciate
Large selection of antique furniture and reasonable prices
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