Native arts and handicrafts in Xi'an
Xian with its long standing history is known as the cradle of Chinese civilization. Since the ancient time, Xian is where different cultures meet and mix as it had been the capital of 13 ancient Chinese dynasties, and was the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. Over the centuries and centuries, it has developed splendid cultures, which were well rooted into the local arts and crafts of Xian. The followings are among the most reprehensive ones.
Xi'an's shopping opportunities include a wide variety of traditional arts and crafts and folk handicrafts and it is a good place to shop for replicas of antiquities. The city is known for good imitations of arts and crafts of the Qin and Tang dynasties, such as tri-colored glazed pottery and imitations of ancient bronze ware. In Xi'an tourists can also find rubbings of ancient calligraphy of various dynasties, rubbings of eaves tiles, replica Qin Dynasty embroidery, artistic porcelain ware, lacquer ware, jade carvings, cloisonne, paper-cuts, leather silhouettes, copies of the murals of the Tang Dynasty, and paintings by the farmers of Huxian County, featuring strong Chinese traditions and local characteristics.
Shaanxi folk paper Paper-Cutting in Shaanxi Province is held in high regard in China and throughout the world. It is highly praised as "the parent national art and the living historical fossil of Yellow River Culture". The UNESCO has listed this art form on the directory of "World Cultural Heritage". Like many other art forms, the folk art of paper-cutting roots in definite social like and social environment. It is usually found along with habits, customs, wedding ceremonies and happy events. Most of the works reflect emotions and desires, and an appreciation of beauty. The varieties of paper-cuts are used decorating windows, Kang (a warmed brick bed), ceilings, lamps, for the Chinese character "Xi" (double happiness), presents, dress, and for shoe patterns, funerals and curtains. Methods of paper-cut are mainly by cutting, carving, dyeing, tearing, interleaving, jointing, and sticking. The most commonly used methods are cutting and carving thereby creating rugged, exaggerated and abstract object with only a small amount of material. Carvings are worked into exquisite true-life objects. In cave dwellings and civilian houses in the Northern Shaanxi, or in the town buildings, and village residences in the central Shaanxi plain, you will always find paper-cut works. Xian Souvenirs shopping places
The Farmers ' Painting in Huxian County Peasant painting from Huxian County. A nationwide known folk art is the farmer's painting from Huxian County which was first recognised in the 20th century. The farmer painters successively produced hundreds of paintings, many being exhibited, published or collected by foreign tourists. These paintings are rich with a local flavour, fresh, healthy sentimentalism and bring an artistic charm with poetic quality. They all express the feeling of the folk artist. In response to a life full of contradictions, the artists have developed great creative power to pursue the beauty of art. Mrs. Pan Xiaoling is one such farmer painter. Her paintings are highly appreciated and her aesthetic ideas appeal to the masses. Her art form takes root in the fertile soil of folk culture and absorbs the quintessence of the area. When appreciating a piece of her work, one can easily realise the quality which involves not only folk but also modern art, and possesses the fine and honest spirit of the Chinese nation.
Hua Shian Shadowgraph Shadowgraph is one of the folk puppet shows famous in China for many years. A small leather figure of a person or animal is designed to be manipulated by the hand behind a lighted cloth, hence the name "Leather Shadowgraph" or "lamp shadow". It was originally performed in court only for royal families, but gradually adopted by the local common people after the Tang dynasty. Shaanix province is one of the birthplaces of shadowgraph. Hua Shian shadowgraph has a history of over 1000 years when it started from Han Dynasty and developed during the Tang, Song and Qing Dynasties. This traditional art has been inherited by the well-known shadowgraph artists Pan Jingle, Hao Binli, Wei Zhenye, Li Junmin, Wang Tianxi and Wei Zhiquan, all of whom have won a great honour in China.
Mashao masks :With a history of more than 1,500 years, the ladle mask are a folk art form mainly prevailing in the Central Shaanxi Plain. It is also also locally called horse ladle facial make-ups. The horse ladle facial make-ups are not only used in the Shehuo celebrations, but also regarded as refined handicrafts favored by collectors. Shehuo facial masks painted on the ladles are ways of praying for the livestock’s safety and health, thus ensuring people a happy and harmonious life. People used to hang the painted ladles in their courtyards to decorate the houses, drive away the evil spirits, and to avoid sterility and other accidents.
Hua Shian shadowgraphs are made generally by carving, scorching, shaving, milling, stitching, dyeing, ironing and many other ways. The figures are tiny and delicate, around 35 cm high. Its artistic language is closest to life, with plenty of themes and numerous forms in great quantity. Xian Souvenirs shopping places
Shan'xi Lacquer ware
Lacquer is a natural substance obtained from the sap of the lacquer tree, a tree indigenous to China. Up to a few hundred layers of lacquer are applied to an objects .surface in order to attain the final thickness of between five and eighteen mm. After the lacquer has dried, the object is decorated by carving various designs into.the surface. While traditional imperial lacquer ware came in the form of chairs, screens, tables and vases, today one can find objects ranging from trays, cups and vases to small decorative boxes. It is being produced in Xian lacquer-ware workshop today.
Yaozhou Celadon Porcelain
Green Porcelain (Qing Ciqi) is method of making porcelain which originated in the Song Dynasty. Lifelike animals and flowers are the major decorative themes and the most common colors of this porcelain are blue and green. Useful and durable, yet also elegant and pretty, this porcelain has many uses and forms. Green Porcelain is especially favored as a material for making tea pots.Yaozhou Kiln reached its height in the Song Dynasty (A.D 960-1279). The base is fine and compact; the sculpt is beautiful and exquisite; the leg is high and narrow. There are perfect and diversified kinds of utensils. There are domestic utensils, such as bowl, saucer, open-top cup, canister etc, decorating porcelain as well, such as Zun (a kind of wine vessel in ancient times) with projecting flanges, pear vase, plum vase, incense burner and bulging nail washer.
Calligraphy Rubbings Xi'an is a store house of anicent Chinese culture and calligraphy! There are more than 300 steles dating from the Han, Wei, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties collected in the Forest of Steles in Xi'an. Books of rubbings from some of the most famous Chinese calligraphers can be purchased there. If you are interested in Chinese history, language, or calligraphy, then this is an excellent oppurtunity to enrich your collection of calligraphic rubbings.t is a good choice if you are interested in Chinese language, culture or calligraphy. Find some to enrich your collection of calligraphic rubbings.
Imitation of tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty The tri-colored glazed pottery, which Is known as a splendid pearl In the art of ancient Chinese ceramics, originated In the Tang Dynasty. It Is mainly a three-colored glaze: yellow, green and brown, hence the name "tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty". Xian Is the home town of tri-colored glazed pottery. The traditional way of making tri-colored glazed wares has been carried on In Shaanxi. The shape of tri-colored glazed pottery articles are bold, vivid and life-like, and the glazed colors are mutually-permeated, multifarious, gorgeous and fully expressive. All visitors to Shaanxi think It Is a pleasure to have tri-colored glazed potteries as souvenirs.
The replicas of Terracotta Warriors and Horses
The terracotta warriors and horses is one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of all times ever since its excavation in 1974. Many visitors come to Xian would like to take a Terracotta Warrior as souvenir. You can find different types of replicas, from a few inches tall to life-size available in the markets. The replicas of Terracotta Warriors and Horses will give visitor’s home or garden a real ancient and oriental touch.Xian Souvenirs shopping places
Lantian Jade carving
Xians jade carvings boast five thousand year history. Large amounts of jade ornaments have been discoved during the archaeological excavations. Nowadays all kinds of nice-looking and exquisitely-carved jade craftwork articles, such as jade bowls, jade bracelets, jade pendants, etc., are being produced in Xi'an Jade Carving Factory.There are some important tips to choose the jade craft works: the brightness of color and luster, compactness of inner structure, and the delicacy of the craft work. For example, on real jade, air bubbles cannot be seen and so on.Xian Souvenirs shopping places
Fengxiang Painted Clay-figurines Fengxiang Fengxiang Painted Clay-figurines Fengxiang, called YongZhou in ancient times, is one of the ancient towns in Shaanxi Province. The figurines are made of local clay mixed with pulp and painted after shaping. The subjects of the figurines are wide-range. Their bold and brief shapes are of wild exaggeration and in bright colours with strong local flavour. They are well received by the local people, who put them as toys and symbols of good fortune and happiness.Xian Souvenirs shopping places
Qin Embroidery Qin embroidery enjoys a high reputation due to its perfect skills as well as its attractive appearance. Qin embroidery is a high value collection when you consider buying souvenirs in Xian.
Nowadays, Qin embroidery has become one of the most popular kinds of handicraft souvenirs among foreign tourists with its elegant and neat needlework, finely stitched patterns placed in proper perspective, impressive display of colors, and a wonderful effect of tone and depth of fine workmanship.
Shopping Streets and Malls
- Shuyuanmen Gate:Shuyuanmen Gate is a small street with 400 history . It was the gateway to the Guanzhong Shuyuan (Guanzhong Academy), one of the four famous Academies of ancient China. The Forest of Stone Stele is on the end of the street.
There are hundred shops established in the ancient style. You can see various size of writing brushes hang from above the gate of shops. Many of the owners know a lot about Chinese calligraphy, painting, and other cultural things. Some of them are real artists. Maybe you can be permitted to visit their small workshops, which are located behind the shops, to see how they make those crafts. Many local people, including amateurs and artists look for things they want here. The condition is comfortable and tidy. You can get:
Four treasures of study (writing brush, ink stick, silk paper and ink stone);
Rubbings of calligraphy and paiting from the Forest of Stone Stele;
Shaddows of shaddow play (made of donkey skin or bull skin, totally handmade);
Xun (the oldest instrument, decovered from Banbo Village, yes, 6000 years ago)
and other folk arts.
- Drum Tower Souvenir Shops: Around Xi'an Drum Tower are many old stores, which now cater to new tourist customers. Although modern products ate put on sale, the ambience of ancient Xi'an still remains. Once the "crazy" jacket, tiger-head cap and other goods were sold only on Lunar New Year and other festivals in the old days. Now, foreign tourists who buy goods all year round mostly frequent the shops. Their wares also include old brass locks, crystal spectacles, pipes, tobacco pouches and embroidered shoes for bound feet.
Traveling over the 400-kilometre vast flat land in the central part of Shaanxi or the Loess Plateau in northern Shaanxi, you will be drawn to the uniquely shaped and brightly coloured folk arts and crafts. For general travelers it is hard to imagine that these common people who live simple life farming on this land of yellow earth could produce such a great variety of fold arts typical of the region. These folk arts and crafts are both varied and imaginative; they include clay sculpture, dough models, paintings, wood-block printed New Year pictures, embroideries and patchworks. If they were to be classified by their function, they are a mixture of auspicious objects, keepsakes, toys, ornaments, souvenirs, sacrificial offerings and articles for daily use, etc. Spring Festival in the countryside provides a good opportunity for these folk arts and crafts to materialize. Vendor's stalls selling various objects and ornaments fill the streets at country fairs. Every household is decrated with door gods on gates, papercuts on windows and New Year picture on walls, and sacrificial offerings are placed on altars for gods and ancestors… everywhere is a riot of colour enhancing the peaceful atmosphere bidding farewell to the old year and welcoming the new work is created.
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