Shopping in Xi'an - Xi'an Destination Guide
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Xi'an is a great place to do some fantastic Chinese souvenir shopping, especially for cultural items. Some excellent offerings specific to Xi'an include: Chinese calligraphy rubbings, Tang pottery replicas, Terracotta Warrior replicas, Folk paintings, Folk paper cuttings and Green porcelain.
The area around Jiefang Road is Xi'an's thriving business district, and most retail stores are along Dongdajie and Xidajie, running east and west through the city, south of the Drum Tower.
In the Muslim area of the city, near the Bell Tower, there is a huge outdoor market that sells almost everything you could ever want! Clothing, antiques, musical instruments, Mao memorabilia as well as other souvenirs and cultural items are all for sale. If you still crave more, then there is also a small clothing market off Dongdajie.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.
One fantastic and very special type of souvenir from Xi'an is a local folk painting. The local folk painters have borrowed the line drawing techniques of traditional Chinese brush painting and draw inspiration from cultural and historical figures, animals, flowers and birds. These eye-catching and colorful paintings overflow with the atmosphere of Chinese country life and are widely enjoyed by travelers to Xi'an.
Great folk paintings can be purchased at most tourist attractions from street vendors and in small shops nearby.
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.
A good place to buy Green Porcelain is in the gift shop at the Forest of Steles.
Paper cutting is an extremely popular folk art in the Shaanxi Province villages. On days of celebration such as holidays and weddings, villagers like to decorate the doors and windows of their homes with colorful paper cuttings.
The designs of the paper cuttings are rich and varied, but they always feature symbols of good luck and happiness as the main theme. Other secondary themes include landscape scenes, legends and myths, and folk stories. These folk paper cuttings are usually inexpensive, but you should still bargain.
Paper cuttings can be purchased throughout Xi'an, but you can definitely pick some up at major tourist attractions.
Xi'an's proud tradition as the capital of the Tang Dynasty is kept alive today by modern day replicas of Tang Dynasty pottery. Tang Dynasty pottery, with its distinctive blue, green, and yellow color glazes is still hand-made as it was during the Tang. Common themes include figurines and ceramic camels and horses.
Because of this revival in the art of Tang style pottery, buyers should be wary of any shop owners or hawkers that claim their pottery to be "old". Just a reminder! The Tang Dynasty was from about 600 to 900 AD. That would make any genuine Tang Dynasty pieces out of the reach of any ordinary modern day shop.
To purchase some Tang pottery replicas, try the Xi'an Friendship Store or Xi'an Cultural Relics Store.
Take a Terracotta Warrior home with you! Many different types of replicas are available as souvenirs, from a few inches tall to life-size! Prices range as well, from one US dollar to several thousand dollars for the largest statues.
The price of the life-sized statues usually includes shipping to the US or Europe. But buyer beware! The life-sized statues cost a fraction of the price to make, usually less than 400 US dollars.
If you take an organized tour to the Terracotta Army site, your tour will probably stop by one of Xi'an's "Terracotta Warrior" factories. You can purchase one there or try the Xi'an Friendship Store.
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