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Shopping in China
2004-10-27

China has a wonderful variety of raw materials due to its vast territory and various climates. The tumultuous history of Chinese civilization has left behind a rich cultural heritage, which can be found in traditional arts and crafts. Shopping is a major activity for tourists who come to China. Shopping for yourself or for your friends will add luster to your trip to China.

High up on their shopping lists are silk products, embroidery, Chinese calligraphy and paintings, Chinese medicine, cloisonne enamel, ceramics, carvings, woven arts and crafts, lacquer ware, Chinese fans, the four treasures of the study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper), tea, liquor and wine, folk arts and crafts, and other local products.

1. Silk. China is known as the Home of Silk. Silkworms are raised in many places, such as Jiangsu, Guangdong, Hunan, and Sichuan. Hangzhou is the most famous city in China for silk products in great variety, including silk, satin, damask, and brocades.
2. Embroidery. The developed silk production has promoted the production of embroidery. The four most famous types of embroidery in China are embroideries from Jiangsu, Hunan, Guangdong, and Sichuan provinces. The most famous styles of brocade are yunjin from Nanjing, songjin from Suzhou, and shujin from Sichuan. There are other well-known styles of brocade made by minority peoples,such as Zhuang, Dai, Li, Dong, and Tujia.

3. Chinese calligraphy and paintings. Chinese calligraphy and paintings form a cross-section of the
traditional Chinese culture. High-grade calligraphy and paintings are the best souvenirs for foreign travelers. Most works are done on a kind of paper known as xuan. There are also other forms of art, such as shell paintings from Dalian, Qingdao, Beihai, Gaungdong, and Fujian; bark paste-ups
from Jilin; soft-wood paintings from Fuzhou; paintings on bamboo curtains from Sichuan; straw patchwork from Guangdong and Heilongjiang, and feather paste-ups from Shenyang and
Shandong.

4. Ceramics. Ceramics is one of the many traditional Chinese handicrafts. The best pottery-making sites in China are Yixing in Jiangsu Province, Shiwan in Guangdong Province, and Luoyang in Henan Province, Luoyang's tri-colored glazed pottery is world famous. It uses red, green and white colors to imitate the tri-colored glazed pottery popular in the Tang Dynasty. Yixing mainly produces pottery for daily use. Pottery from Shiwan is simple and unsophisticated, often used to make containers in the shape of human figures.

Other famous products include porcelain from Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province, Longquan porcelain from Zhejiang Province, jun and ru porcelain from Henan, and porcelain from Tangshan and Xuanhua in Hebei Province. Jingdezhen is known as the Capital of Ceramics.

5. Traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine is famous for its large variety and amazing effectiveness. The most popular Chinese medicinal herbs are ginseng, saussurea involucrata, Chinese cater pillar fungus, matrimony vine, licorice, root of hairy asiabell, and fritillary
bulb.

6. Carvings. Many materials are used for carvings, such as jade, stone, wood, bamboo, ink slab, coal, crystal, willow branches, roots, and shells.

7. Cloisonne enamel. Beijing is the main producer of cloisonne enamel. Popular during the reign of Emperor Jing Tai (1450-1457) of the Ming Dynasty, cloisonne enamelware includes vases, bowls, plates, desk lamps, and cups.

8. Four treasures of the study. The four treasures of the study are the writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper. Jingxian County in Anhui Province is famous for xuan paper, Shexian County in Anhui Province for ink sticks, Huzhou in Zhejiang Province for writing brushes, Zhaoqing in
Guangdong Province, Shexian County in Anhui Province and Wuyuan in Jiangxi Province for ink slabs. The slabs from Shandong, Taohe and Dengni and the Helan stone slabs are very famous too. The four treasures of the study make up one of the best souvenirs of traditional Chinese culture.

9. Lacquer ware. Lacquer ware is a traditional Chinese handicraft. The regions best known for producing lacquer ware in China are Beijing, Fuzhou, Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, and various regions in Sichuan Province.

10. Woven articles. Bamboo, rattan, palm fiber, and wheat straw are used as raw materials for woven articles. The most famous woven ar-ticles are woven bamboo ware from Nanjing, summer sleeping mats from Anhui and Hunan provinces, articles made of wheat stalks and plaited corn
husks from Shandong and Henan, and articles of woven rattan, hemp and straw from Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces.

11. Chinese fans. Chinese fans are popular tourist souvenirs for foreign friends. They come in a large variety and are of good quality. The most famous are folded fans from Hangzhou, sandalwood fans from Suzhou, feather fans from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, palm fans from Guangdong Province, woven bamboo fans from Sichuan Province, straw fans from Zhejiang Province. All these fans are of good workmanship and convenient for carrying.

12. Tea. China was one of the first countries to grow and process tea, and Chinese tea is famous around the world. Chinese tea can be divided into black tea, green tea, scented tea, and Oolong tea. The famous brands are Longjing from Hangzhou, Qihong from Anhui, Maofeng from Mt.
Huangshan, Yihong from Hubei, Jasmine from Beijing, and Tieguanyin from Fujian.

13. Liquor and wine. China was one of the first countries to brew liquor and wine and today has many kinds of liquor and wine, such as white spirits, yellow-rice wine, red wine, fruit wine, and beer. The most famous types of Chinese liquors are Maotai, Fenjiu, Wuliangye, Gujinggongjiu,
Yanghedaqu, Jiannanchun, China Red Wine, Qingdao White Wine, GoldenPrize Brandy, Dongjiu, specially made Beijing Brandy, Laojiao Tequ from Luzhou, Shaoxing Jiafan Wine,
Zhuyeqing Lique, Qingdao Beer, Yantai Red Wine, and Chengang Lique.

Other choices for souvenirs are carpets, tapestries, silk umbrellas from Hangzhou, New Year's paintings, papercuts, kites, traditional and ethnic clothes, and traditional toys. Famous local products include candied fruits from Beijing, dried Hami melon and raisins from Xinjiang, cashmere and camel hair products from Inner Mongolia, caracul from Qinghai, sheepskin from Ningxia, and fur from Jilin.

To help tourists buy what they want, many local travel agencies have accredited high-quality shopping centers or stores as "fixed" or "reliable." All shopping centers and department
stores recommended in this brochure have been approved by the appropriate government agencies. The tourist can also change money in large and medium-sized stores, which also offer
other services such as mail order, consignment, and customs declaration for customers. These centers will offer the best services and sell goods at fair prices.

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