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Beijing Antique Markets

By china tour on 12/17/2009 4:55:00 PM | Beijing Tours

Beijing, as the capital city of China, has a long history and plays an important role in China's history. Since many emperors selected Beijing as the capital of the country, it leaves an impression to the visitors that Beijing is a city full of culture and mystery, especially, for the antiques and furnitures in the city. When you travel in Beijing, you can see the astonishing skyscrapers, shopping malls and other modern bulidings in the city, also, you can have a view of the local quadrangles, Hutongs, which represent the culture of the city. Besides these area, the place that you can not miss during the tour is the antique markets in Beijing. The antiques, with hundreds or thousands years’ history, are the witness of the development of the city. They are the spiritual wealth and sign reflected the deep culture of the city. Here are the famous antique markets we suggest you to visit when you travel in Beijing:
1/ Liulichang Antique Market
Liulichang is a small street lined with shops of Ming and Qing Dynasty architectural features. With brightly painted doors and eaves and gracefully curved black-tiled-roofs buildings, a little of old Beijing's lifestyle is retained here. Rongbaozhai, a famous Chinese bookstore, and Jiguge are the famoust antique stores in the street. The China Bookstore located at the back of a courtyard of the first complex on the north, sells second-hand foreign language books. Merchants race to their doors with a welcoming "Hello, Hello" for all their customers, but they all rack their brains to attract foreigners attention. Some offer free seal-carving services and they even can find a perfect Chinese name for you if you like. Some shop owners invite folk artists to their shops such as an 80-year-old heir to the Qing Dynasty's royal embroidery tradition. It is amazing to watch this elderly man embroider a pair of little shoes for a pair of tiny feet. Old and new, real and fake, moral and immoral, it was all to be found on Liulichang Street, it is really a visitor's treat.

2/ Panjianyuan Antique Market
Another large antique market in the city can be found at Panjiayuan area, on the south of the Third Ring Road. This is a multi-sectioned covered shopping area, which is full of antiques, art, books and general kitsch. From works of Chinese calligraphy and paintings, the four treasures of the study, old watches and clocks, jewelry, ivory and wood carvings, carpets, to antiques from Tibet, there are definitely treasures to be found here, but it is hard to tell genuine antiques from worthless fakes. Real antiques are supposed to bear a red official seal that proves their authenticity, but, sometimes, real items are not marked and faked items are. Many of the things on sale are not real antiques. On the other hand, recently a 50,000-year-old fossil was confiscated from one of the sellers there. The fossil was on sale for about US$150, so you never know. Here it is a best place to bargain down the price to a figure you can accept and pay for it. Small jade articles and silver trinkets are the grat presents for the guests to take home as the souvenir for their families and friends.
3/ Beijing Curio City
Beijing Curio City is the first nationally supervised second-hand market in China, and the biggest Asian center of the curio trade. With more than 250 curio shops under one roof, the market specializes in antique pottery, paintings from China and foreign countries. Jadeware, bone carvings, antique furniture, antique carpets, antique timepieces and pearls can be easily found here. The hotels, meeting halls and dining halls besides the market provide visitors with an ideal shopping, accommodation and office environment. Recently, the government of the city periodically organizes unique curio exhibitions, sales and seminars. Every January, May and October, a Folk Culture Festival, Auction Week, and Beijing Chinese Curio Fair are held in the market.
One of the important notice for antiques is that antiques that dated to before 1795 are forbidden for sale or export from China. Those dated between 1796 and 1949 should bear a small red seal and a Relics Export Certificate from the Beijing Culture Relics Bureau (BCRB), to allow them to be taken out of China. The seal also proves the genuineness of the items. A word of caution: keep receipts, which should indicate the name, the age of the antiques, and whether these items were bought in BCRB designated stores.