The Best Souvenirs in Beijing to Bring Back Home2016-01-06 11:53:55Share:
Peking Glass Snuff Bottle 内画鼻烟壶
The Peking glass snuff bottles are a traditional Chinese handicraft with a history of about 200 years. They are popular in China and abroad for their unique workmanship and exquisite artistry.
Reportedly, snuffing tobacco was introduced into China during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the snuff bottles represented a combination of Chinese and foreign cultures. They are not only a container for tobacco but also a form of art, collected by wealthy businessmen and influential people.
The snuff bottles are made of special materials, such as jade, and have a unique shape. Ones painted on the inside are particularly famous and admired by collectors. They are also called reverse painted due to the technique.
This difficult method uses a very thin bamboo brush, inserted through the narrow neck of the bottle and angled to make the required brush strokes. The object has to be painted in reverse order since the first drop of paint to touch the glass will be in front of subsequent brush strokes. Thus the details must be painted before the subject: Eyes first, then face, then background, etc. The "reverse" of how typical painters work.
Most of the paintings inside the bottles are Chinese style, with vivid pictures, simple colors, and elegant layouts, giving them a great collection value. Moreover, the bottles also represent Chinese tobacco culture, and provide a historical source for tobacco culture research.
Eight Treasures Inkpad 八宝印泥
The famous Eight Treasures inkpad was invented in 1683 and made by the Zhangzhou Stationery Factory. It is known for bright, unfading colors and very clear, fire and sunlight proof prints. It has a variety of usages, including signing important contracts and historical records. It is also a must-have for painters and calligraphers.
The Eight Treasures Inkpad is made from musk, plum, cinnabar, and vermillion hue, natural jade, and special oils. The entire process consists of around 30 stages, and maturing takes 6-10 months before the inkpad is finished.
Beijing Dough Toys 北京面人
The Beijing Dough Toy is a traditional Chinese folk handicraft, which became popular in the beginning of the 21st century.
The dough toy is made of wheat and sweet rice flour, and with a small bamboo knife the artist shapes the dough skillfully into people and animals in a short time. Among the figures are beautiful princesses, adorable children, and various historical people.
The dough toys are small, making them one of the best souvenirs. As it is an ancient handicraft, tourists can find them at temple fairs during the Spring Festival.
Blue Glaze Cloisonné 景泰蓝
Famous blue glaze cloisonné is a unique traditional handicraft of Beijing, the origin of this type of cloisonné. It can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty about 1,000 years ago, and became popular during the Ming Dynasty.
As for the production procedure, red copper is used to make the body, and then thin copper wire is laid to form figures. After that, colorful enamel is used to fill in the image, and finally come firing and polishing. It can be said that the blue glaze cloisonné is a collection of all traditional Chinese handicrafts, as one piece represents copper, porcelain, and traditional painting and sculpture arts.
Since Beijing is the origin of this type of cloisonné, it can be bought everywhere in the city. Products range from temple tablets, hall screens, and chairs to chopsticks, earrings, and toothpick holders.
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