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Beijing's Top 10 : Souvenirs - Top 10 Galleries

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  1. Tea sets

    You’ll never look at a cup the same way again. For a start, Chinese tea cups are often three-piece affairs with a saucer to prevent burned fingers and a lid to keep the leaves out of your mouth. They are sized from mug to thimble, and the colors and patterning can be exquisite, making a nicely boxed tea set the number one gift from China.

    Chinese tea set
  2. Tea

    All over Beijing are shops devoted to tea. Malian Dao, a street in the southwest of the city , has dozens of tea shops offering around 500 different varieties of leaf. The packaging can often be quite beautiful too, from bright red tins to cardboard-tube containers decorated with a waving Mao.

    Tea
  3. Contemporary art

    Not just a striking souvenir but also a potential investment. Collecting Chinese art is big business and some names go for tens of thousands of dollars at international auction. The capital’s galleries showcase a wide variety of Chinese artists, but their works may not be particularly affordable.

    Carved stone statues
  4. Silk

    A Chinese invention and still widely employed today for fine-quality clothing and embroidery. Genuine silk garments are expensive but look out for cheaper household accessories such as silk cushions or bags.

    Embroidered silk
  5. Calligraphy

    It’s a skill that is as revered as painting. Master calligraphers practice their art assiduously, and their works can be very expensive. However, hanging wall scrolls are available at affordable prices and make beautiful souvenirs, especially for anyone with an appropriately Zen-like apartment back home.

    Painted scroll
  6. Marble chops

    A chop is a signature, carved onto wood, marble, stone, or plastic, and used as a stamp on official documents or contracts. It is impossible to do business in China without a chop. You can quickly and easily get your own by having your name translated into Chinese characters and taking it along to a chop-maker.

  7. Mao memorabilia

    The great icon Mao appears on posters, badges, banners, and almost anything else with a flat surface. There are shops and stalls that trade in nothing but Mao in the Dazhalan district and at Panjiayuan Market.

    Mao memorabilia
  8. Ceramics

    China has been producing ceramics for centuries. The finest come from Jingdezhen, and can be seen at Ceramic City at 277 Wangfujing Dajie. Just remember, you have to get it home in one piece.

  9. Lanterns and lamps

    The beautiful red lanterns that you see hanging all over Beijing make a fantastic and very affordable souvenir of China. An equally attractive variant are the table lamps with distinctive red, tulip-shaped shades. These should cost no more than a few yuan.

  10. Designer clothing

    Hottest souvenirs from Beijing are top-label international brands, sold here for a fraction of the cost back home. They are all, of course, fakes – almost passable copies but poorer quality. Those whose copyrights are being infringed have begun to take legal action and the days of the fakes may be numbered.

Top 10 Galleries

  1. 798 Space

    For contemporary art, the place to go is the 798 Art District.This is the gallery that started it all .

  2. Boers Li

    A high-profile gallery with two exhibition spaces in Caochangdi. www.universalstudios.org.cn

  3. Red Gate Gallery

    Art in a 15th-century city watchtower . www.redgategallery.com

  4. PKM Gallery

    A Seoul-based gallery with one of the largest spaces in Caochangdi. www.pkmgallery.com

  5. Galleria Continua

    The Beijing outpost of this Italian gallery is located in the 798 District . www.galleriacontinua.com

  6. PaceWildenstein

    This New York City gallery’s outpost in the 798 Art District focuses on Chinese art. www.pacewildenstein.com

  7. Timezone 8

    Art, exhibition, and design books from Chinese and international publishers . www.timezone8.com

  8. Urs Meile

    A gallery founded by Swiss art dealer Urs Meile in a space designed by Ai Wei Wei. www.galerieursmeile.com

  9. doArt China

    The Beijing outpost of the Korean Gallery Hyundai can be found in Caochangdi. www.doartchina.com

  10. Courtyard Gallery

    This gallery has locations on Dong’anmen Dajie, as well as an annex in a converted factory in Caochangdi. www.courtyard-gallery.com

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