Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Things You Must Shop in China!

Chinese SilkThere are many exotic and unusual things to buy in China which make wonderful souvenirs and gifts for relatives and friends back home.

The following is a sample of the amazing range of goods available.

Silk: Chinese silk is famous all over the world for its magnificent quality, color and variety. Silk products from Hangzhou, Sichuan, Suzhou and Dandong are particularly good.

Tea: There are hundreds of varieties of Chinese tea. They can be classified into five categories - green tea, black tea, brick tea, scented tea, and oolong tea. Longjing, Biluochun, Huangshan Maofeng, Junshan Silver Needle, Qimen Black Tea, Liuan Guapian, Xinyang Maojian, Duyun Maojian, Wuyi Rock Tea and Tieguanyin are top ten teas that you should bring home.

Wines and Spirits: Alcoholic drinks, in ancient China, were regarded as sacred and were used only in sacrifices. Today, however, wines and spirits are becoming popular as accompaniments to Chinese food.

Chinese LiquorYanghe Daqu and Shuanggou Daqu, Gujing Tribute Liquor, Maotai and Dong Liquor, Wuliangye, Jiannanchun and Luzhou Laojiao, Fenjiu Liquor are wines and spirits that have won many international awards

Antiques: If you're an antique enthusiast, China is the place for you! Fascinating antique and curio shops and market stalls are to be found in most cities and country towns. Care is needed, however, when buying expensive items to ensure, for example, that the item carries the official red seal of the shop and the sale documents are in order. Chinese law forbids the export of antiques dated earlier than 1795.

Chinese Medicinal Materials
: Traditional Chinese Medicine is an integral part of Chinese life and culture. With its unique diagnostic methods, systematic approach, abundant historical literature and materials, Traditional Chinese Medicine has found many adherents in Western countries.

Chinese AntiquesThe use of traditional herbs and potions lies at the core of Chinese medicine. Mostly made from animal and plant materials, these medicines have proved effective for treating a wide range of illnesses and disorders. Tonics based on herbs are also popular. Examples of the materials used in the preparation of medicines and tonics are ginseng, antler, rhubarb horse-tails, bezoars, angelica, Tianqi, licorice root, apricot kernel and the root of balloon flower.

In recent years, for the sake of protecting endangered animals, the preparation of medicinal materials from rare animals, such as musk, antler, leopard and tiger bone, rhinoceros horn and elephant skin, has been restricted. Such medicines cannot be exported from China; however, tourists can export Chinese herbs with a total value of less than 300 RMB (per person).

Arts and Crafts: Arts and crafts products make ideal souvenirs and gifts. These include bronze ware, cloisonne, folk toys, jade, kites, lacquer wares, paper-cutting, porcelain, pottery, seal, prints and scrolls, silk, embroidery and printed and dyed fabrics.

Chinese ArtsCloisonné made in Beijing, porcelain made in Jingdezhen in Jiangxi, embroidery from Suzhou, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichhuan, Tang tri-color pottery horses and camels, and batik from Guizhou and Yunnan are all highly recommended.

The "four treasures of study" - namely writing brush, ink stick, ink slab, paper - play an important part in Chinese culture. You may want a set for your own study or to give as a unique gift to your friends. The best writing materials are said to be Xuan paper and Hui ink stick from Anhui, Duan ink slab from Guangdong and Hu writing brush from Zhejiang.

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