Beijing Time (GMT+8)
11:56 pm Nov 03
Beijing is not only the most prosperous metropolis of China, but the capital city for six dynasties of feudal China. Shopping in Beijing enables travelers to have a better exploration of Chinese history and culture, especially through those exquisite souvenirs, such as cloisonné, lacquer ware, jade ware and antique gadgets.
Meanwhile, Beijing boasts a variety of shopping streets and quarters, such as the renowned Wangfujing Commercial Street, Silk Street and Xidan Business Center. World famous brands could be found in the serried malls, and a lot of fancy knick-knacks at old feature stores are also waiting for your exploration. A full view of Beijing Shopping will be unveiled by following recommendations.
Blue Glaze Cloisonné, also known as enamel, ranks the best handicraft of Beijing. With a far-reaching history, its origin could be dated back to 1,000 years ago in Yuan Dynasty. It’s a perfect combination of porcelain, traditional Chinese painting and sculpture. The copper ware is taken as the main body, on which thin copper wire are welded and shaped into patterns. Glazes of various colors are inlaid in the patterns for kilning and polishing. Such unique techniques are applicable to make articles such as vessels, vase, hairpins, bracelet, earrings, etc.
Most snuff bottles are made of glass, and some precious collections are also made of jade, crystal or agate. The most notable workmanship is the deft pictures inside the flat bottle, which are finished with a fine painting brush. The whole making process requires exquisite techniques, and it may take several weeks or months for accomplishment. The majority pictures inside are themed with landscape, flowers, birds, traditional Chinese maids or legend stories. If you are a zealot for collection, snuff bottle with inside picture would be a nice choice as a souvenir of Beijing.
Dough Figurine is a famous folk artifact of Beijing, which is mainly made of wheat and rice flour. Craftsmen shape their figurine just with a simple bamboo blade. The images of their works range from vivid animals to human figures, such as traditional Chinese maids, soldiers with sword, fairy ladies, old man on fishing and monkey king. After special processing, the dough dolls won’t be easily broken or out of shape. As a small and funny trinket, it could be an ideal gift to bring home.
Endowed with a profound history over 5,000 years, jade ware had been regarded as the symbol of decentness and nobleness. Jade could be carved into vase, vessels, tea sets, seals, statues and animal images, while wearing jade accessories like earrings, pendants, bracelets and hairpins are also prevailing both in ancient and modern China. By the way, you’d better have a jade expert for accompany to distinguish the true from the false if you intend to buy some expensive jade wares.
Praised as the quintessence of Chinese culture, Peking Opera is a classic art form of traditional culture. The opera performances are usually storytelling dramas by vocalists and dancers wearing bright costumes and makeups. Though you may not understand the drama, the facial mask of Peking Opera would be definitely an authentic souvenir to buy for house decoration.
Reputed as the Champs-Elysees of China, Wangfujing Commercial Street is the most famous and bustling shopping quarter in Beijing. With a length of 1,600 meters, there are hundreds of malls, stores and shops arrayed on both sides. It houses world-famous brands and boutiques as well as time honored traditional feature stores. Nowadays, Wangfujing Street is more than a shopping place, but a hot sightseeing destination of one’s Beijing tour.
Recommended Malls and Stores
Silk Street used to be a large outdoor market characterized by high quality silk commodities, and nowadays the market is also densely brimmed with wear accessories, such as clothes, bags, hats and belts. Many fake branded shoes and bags are sold at a rather low price, but the quality is still favorable. The biggest pleasure of shopping in Silk Street is the price bargaining. You don’t need to feel embarrassed by asking for a discount, as every shopaholic likes to do that for a better price, sometimes they could even get 30 percent off.
As the most bustling shopping center in the west of Beijing, Xidan Commercial Street houses dazzling name-brand trendy wear and boutiques varying from middle to high quality. The business street is clustered with a great number of modern shopping malls, department stores, restaurants and entertainment centers. Hunting for fast and high fashion, local young people take the street as their shopping paradise. Hereunder list a few of big malls and stores highly recommended by locals.
Recommended Malls and Stores
It may be the first time that you have heard about the market. Adjacent to the Temple of Heaven, Hongqiao Market is an indoor mall for pearls trades, where you could purchase pearls necklace or earrings. Besides, the markets is also an ideal place to buy cheap digital products, such as music players, earphones, laptops, phone cases, battery charger, etc. Most electronic items sold in the mall are generic without brand name, but the quality is reliable and the price is affordable.
Qianmen Street, located at the central axis of Beijing City, is one of the oldest business centers with a history of 600 years. With a length of 850 meters and width of 20 meters, Qianmen Street boasts a lot of hutong alleys, like the well-known Dashiliar, on both sides. Time honored brands have been standing in the streets for hundreds of years, where you could shop the most authentic Chinese souvenirs, such as silk products, traditional herbs medicine, cloth shoes and antique gadgets. By the way, the dang-dang trolley bus is worth a try for shoppers at Qianmen Street.
For antique fans, Panjiayuan, the largest antique market of China, is a must-go destination. A wide variety of antique pieces either from imperial palace or from folk craftsmen are showcased in hundreds of stores, which cover collectables such as jade wares, ancient coins, calligraphy works, landscape paintings, seals, porcelains, vessels, wood carvings, etc. Usually, the second hand antique and curios are traded at a cheap price, and sometimes the price could still be bargained.
Liulichang used to be a factory producing glazed tiles for the imperial palace in Ming and Qing Dynasty, but now evolved into a traditional cultural street for curios and antique stuff. There are about 100 hundred shops in business of trading cultural products, and sometimes venders also come to sell their handicrafts. As a culture-featured bazaar, you could find enormous art works, such as calligraphy, ink painting, copybook, inkpad, brush pens, ink stick, stone seals, etc.
As the largest curio exchange center of Asia, Beijing Curio City houses about 500 hundred stores selling antique furniture, jade ware, stone carving, porcelain, antique clocks, carpets, Buddhist statues, embroidery, calligraphy and paintings, etc. For collectors, it is the most ideal shopping place to explore some treasures. If just for a leisure tour, the museum-like antique bazaar would unveil the charm of traditional Chinese culture in a vivid way.
Nestling at Wangfujing Street, Shengfuxi is a time honored brand for hand-made hats since 1911. Due to their top quality, many celebrities have been their customers, such as the previous Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou. Nowadays, their hats have been exported to many countries, such as America, Germany, France, Canada and Singapore.
Neiliansheng is also an old brand famous for its handmade cloth shoes. Cloth shoes are very popular among Beijing locals, especially the seniors. Neiliansheng Company offers comfortable footwear with best material and classical design. If your feet are at large size, the store could make customized shoes for you.
Various herbs are taken as traditional Chinese medicine for conditioning of chronic disease, and Yong’an Tang brand stands in Beijing for the longest history. Different from pills and tablets, herbs intake is good for one’s health although she or he stays in fitness, without any side-effect. Chinese ginseng, antler and cordyceps are worthy your purchase.
Ruifuxiang, a time-honored brand since 1893, offers the best quality silk in Beijing. The store not only sells ready-made silk cheongsam and scarves, but also offers tailor-making service for customers. Foreign tourists could have their figures measured, and received the clothes at home through the store’s mail service.
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