what to buy in Beijing


A good place to lind a wide selection of antiques is at Liulichang, Panjiayuan and Beijing Curio City. This area has everything from scrolls, to jade articles to decadesold cigarette ad posters. There are deinitely treasures to be found here, but it is hard to tell genuine antiques from dirty fakes. Real antiques are supposed to bear a red ottcial seal that proves their authenticity, but sometimes real ones don’t have it and fake ones do. The best attitude to have is: if you like it and you can bargain down to a price you can accept, just go for it. Small jade articles and silver trinkets make great presents for people at home and they are easy to take on the plane.


Porcelain, the original China, is still a major industry, producing dinner services, gurines and reproductions of antique vases, teapots and the like. The nest porcelain in the world can be easily purchased in China.


Cloisonne is a unique art form that originated in Beijing during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368). Cloisonne enamel formed in patterns of copper wire is an art form developed in the 151h century, and now used to decorate vases, bowls, lamps, jewelry and ornaments.


Lacquerware consists of up to 500 coats of lacquer applied to a copper base and carved into designs. The colors are red, green, yellow and black, while favorite patterns show lqowers, birds, landscapes and l]gures. Lacquer is used for vases, plates, bowls and gures. Lacquer is used for vases, plates, bowls and screens. Some lacquerware is inlaid with gold, mother-of -pearl or jade, to decorate folding screens and furniture which are genuine works of art.


Silk, which has brought fame to China, can be readily found in a dazzling array of colors, patterns and textures. While large State-owned stores like the Beijing Yuanlong Silk Corporation, Ud. Can be trusted for quality and o~er ready-made clothes as well as a complete array of fabric, private markets like Silk Market and Yaxiu Market sell all kinds of silk clothing from shirts, underwear and trousers, to pajamas and bedspreads at negotiable brices Most vendors at the markets are self-employed and speak some English. All the products are marked in Western sizes. Chinese long gowns are considered the most elegant garment most suitable for women’s figures. Silk gowns can be a truly Ionglasting and useful item to purchase in China for yourself or as gilts for those special people back home.


Jade is regarded by the Chinese as a stone descended from heaven. They value its hard, cool texture and translucent colors. It is extremely ditticult to carve but China’s crattsmen create incredibly intricate ornaments and jewelry from jade.

Painting and callgraphy

Painting and callgraphy works are found in hundreds of stores. They vary in age, quality and price with the finestbeing true works of art. The brushes, ink slabs, ink and paper that were the scholars traditional tools can be found in most antique shops. One of the best sources is the China Book Store, o~the courtyard-parking in East Liulichang.


Clay figurines and animals can be traced back to 1840s, and are still one of the most unique crafts in NorthChina. Dough modeling is another traditional folk art handed down from ancient times. Kneaded in half-cooked glutinous rice flour, dough figures, flowers and birds are popular small toys and exhibits in Beijing. Papercufting is one of the most popular handicrafts in Beijing. There is a wider variety of papercufting patterns available than you can imagine. Kites can be used as ornaments and toys. One of China’s favorite past times is flying kites, especially in Beijing where there is usually plenty of wind around to send them soaring into the sky. Available in many art and craftstores, kites are among the best Chinese presents to friends back home. Snuff bottles, with paintings inside, represent a popular art from the QJng Dynasty and make excellent small giftsYou and your friends will marvel for years on how the artist paints such intricate drawings on the inside of these very small bottles. Bone products, made from oxen and camel bones, include knives, forks, spoons, bracelets and necklaces Embroidery & drawn work appear on table cloths, napkins, sheets and handkerchiefs, all of which are excellent buys, the Beijing Yuanlong Silk Corporation, Ud. has a wide selection.


Every year 20,000 book titles and 1,300 periodicals are published in Beijing, home of the Commercial Press andother well-known publishing houses. They make up a small part of the stock of the city’s major book shops, whereyou can find beautiful art books, translations of Chinese classics and textbooks on all known subjects. Prices arereasonable, particularly in the Foreign Languages Bookstores. The Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore and Beijing Xinhua Bookstore (with 137 branches around town) are major book sellers. The China Book Store in Liulichang binds and repairs all kinds of books and periodicals as well as selling them. Another good place for books is Haidian book street near Beijing University.