Millions of foreigners, overseas Chinese, Hong Kong and Macao compatriots visit China every year on business, for sightseeing or exchanges in the fields of economy, trade, sports, science, and culture. Many of them return home loaded with souvenirs. In fact there cannot be many people who could manage to stay in China and not be tempted to do any shopping. China offers a dazzling range of goods from antiques to chopsticks, kites and snuff bottles.
China’s arts and crafts are well-known for their long history and uniqueness. The jade in Beijing and Yangzhou whose raw materials include white jade, jasper, green jade, agate, rose quartz, etc., is characterized by its distinct national style of simplicity, gracefulness and delicate lucidity and noted for human figures such as disciples of Buddha, fairy ladies, birds, animals, insects, flowers, incense-burners,etc. Special emphasis is given to moulding, attention to detail, meticulousness in composition and susceptibility to variation.
Cloisonne wares produced from the Beijing Cloisonne factory enjoy a high reputation at home and abroad and are sold to almost every part of the world. Cloisonne, also called “Copper body and Wire-inlaid Enamel”, was popular as far back as in the years of the reign of Emperor Jingtai of the Ming Dynasty(about 500 years ago).
Lacquerware from Beijing and Yangzhou originated in the Han Dynasty and has been handed down and developed from generation to generation.
Porcelain is perhaps the greatest invention of the Chinese people. During the Neolithic period 8000 years ago, the Chinese began making earthern ware with clay. It first appeared by the Shang Dynasty(16th ～11th century B.C.) known as “protoporcelain” and matured in the Han Dynasty. The celadon wares from Shaoxing, Zhejiang province and the white porcelain from Neijiu, Hebei province were famous throughout the country.
Silk products and embroidery, exquisite in workmanship, multifarious in patterns, harmonious in colour scheme, and distinctive in national style, are really good buys in Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shantou and Beijing. Suzhou pieces look nearly impossible to have been done with single filaments of silk. The double-sided hand embroidery, with it’s dazzling colour and striking patterns, is especially nifty.
Celadon is the most widespread form of ancient Chinese procelain. It is a mixture of iron oxide with a glaze that results during the firing process. The glaze is the characteristic green tone of the porcelain, which occurs due to the presence of iron in the clay.
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