Because it was the ancient cultural city of China, there are many consummateskills handed down from generation to generation, such as cloisonné, ivory carvingand jade carving. These craftworks distinguished by their dense eastern styleare the best choice of souvenir for the visitors. You can pick up one or twoof them for yourself or friends from antiquemarkets or featureshops in Beijing.
Chinese name: 玉器（yù qì）
Jade has been considered the king of the precious stones by Chinese for over 5,000 years. It is regarded as an auspicious thing standing for goodliness, heavenliness and preciousness. In ancient times, people wore jade to show their status and position on society. There are many places with abundant jade resources, such as Hotan in Xinjiang Province and Youyan in Liaoning Province. And there are lots of craftsmen with a high level of skill in Jade Carving. The jade vase, figurine, bird, animals and flowers are so well-made that they appear lifelike.
Chinese name: 景泰蓝（jǐng tài lán）
Cloisonne which is also known as enamel is a kind of copper craftwork. It first appeared in Beijing in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and prevailed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Cloisonne is a perfect combination of copper and porcelain. It is made by using copper as the basal material with brass wires fixed to the body of the copper in some designs. Then blue glaze is applied to the brass wire. After a series of complex procedures, such as burning, burnishing and gilding, the cloisonne is done. This process can be used to make articles such as headgears, lamps, smoking sets and other vessels of all shapes and sizes.
Chinese name: 绢花（juān huā）
The Artificial Flower, also known as Jing Hua, has been a traditional handicraft since ancient times. As early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907), women began to wear artificial flowers on their hair as decoration. And the middle of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was a booming time for this folk art. These vivid flowers are made from all kinds of colourful silks by skilled craftsmen. As a result of thousands of years' development, there are now over 2,000 kinds of artificial flowers, including the fireproof garland mounted on a candleholder and the waterproof flower branch. As well as artificial flowers, the craftsmen can make dolls from silk. The colourful dolls with a variety of designs are also very popular.
Chinese name: 面人（miàn rěn）
Dough Figurine is a simple folk handicraft demonstrating high artistic quality. It has a history over 1,340 years. The vivid figurine is made by skilled craftsmen from sticky rice dough mixed with pigments, honey and olefin. After cutting, slashing, pinching and twisting the dough, a lifelike child, beautiful girl or other creations will come out in the twinkling of an eye. You can witness the craftsmen making dough figurines along the exhibition streets in Beijing and you will be astonished by their excellent skills.
Chinese name: 牙雕（yá diāo）
Ivory Carving in Beijing enjoys a history of as many as 3,000 years. The excellent techniques and well-developed imagination of the skilled craftsmen give the ivory a new life with their knives. It is an exquisite and delicate craftwork that is loved by people at the first sight. In ancient times, the Chinese emperors regarded the ivory carving as a royal tribute. Today, ivory carvings are sent to many foreign friends by Chinese leaders. Because ivory is now in short supply and there are fewer young craftsmen, ivory carving is may soon be a lost art.
Chinese name: 漆器（qī qì）
There are two kinds of lacquers in Beijing: carving lacquer and golden enchased lacquer. Both of them are extractive craftworks featuring dense folk art. They are acclaimed by people all around the world. There are many large lacquer works set in many important concourses, such as the Great Hall of the People and Diaoyutai State Guest House.
Chinese name: 内画壶（nèi huà hú）
Usually it is a flat snuff bottle made of glass, while some more precious ones are made of jade, crystal or agate. The most astonishing thing about these is that the designs of the bottles are drawn by skilled craftsmen from inside the bottle with a tiny writing brush. Making a snuff bottle with pictures inside calls for extremely deft drawing techniques and it takes a few weeks or one month to finish one bottle. It can be collected as a delicate collection and there are many bottles on display in overseas museums as curios these days.
Chinese name: 宫灯（gōng dēng）
As its name implies, the lantern was used solely in palaces in ancient times. The lantern frame is made of precious wood, such as rosewood or sandalwood and is decorated with colourful glass and silk of all kinds. Its appearance is very elegant. Nowadays, it is also appreciated by the general public. During lantern festivals, people like to hang the lantern high on the eaves of buildings, to bring joy to many observers.