Beijing Market

Beijing Market

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Beijing has dozens of markets or streets specializing in the wholesale or retail sale of specific commodities. While some are of great interest to the visitor, others are  sector vignettes showing the development of the economy.

Many such markets, including the former thriving Russian Market at Yabao Lu, along the Second Ring Road north of jianguomen, have been torn down or slated for demolition to make way for commercial office and retail space.

Antique markets are the best places to browse for a special gift whether the item in question is old or not so old. From bird and cricket cages to antique desks, old Chinese wedding beds or 1920s and 1930s Shanghai calendar girl posters, porcelain, scrolls, calligraphy or costumes-all is to be found in one or the other of the markets. The best known locations for antiques arc the Chaowai Market, Liangma Collectors Market, Jinsong Curio Market and the Panjiayuan Dirt Market.

The Panjiayuan Dirt Market, south of jinsong Nanlu-about a ten-minute taxi ride from the China World Hotel, just off the Third Ring Road-is open Saturday and Sunday mornings from dawn. The wheeling and dealing continues into the afternoon, but some of the best stuff is gone by noon. Mainly in open air, most on offer is of curio-value or fake, but great buys have been made by those in the know. It’s one of the few places to buy decency arts and crafts by local artisans. This is a market more for China’s recent past than iris ancient. The patient and the curly can find gems from China’s Revolutionary history, with sheaves of Cultural Revolution posters and kitsch items to be found. Unlike the Silk Market, the atmosphere here is friendly, and prices are generally low. Let’s more flea market than bazaar. For directions and information (in Chinese only) call 6775 2405.

The Hongqiao Market near the east gate of the Temple of Heaven is best known for the contents on its fourth floor where one finds cultures pearls, semi precious stones, coral, silver jewelry and antiques. The Chaowai Market is just off the Third Ring Road and is best known for Chinese furniture. However, some stalls Specialize in porcelain and old rugs. The Jinsong Curio Market is also known as Curio City. Located near the Panjiayuan exit from the Third Ring Road it has three floors of shops selling everything from new to antique furniture, rugs, paintings and Porcelain. For readers familiar with what was known as the Lingam Collectors’ Market-stalls with small snuff bottles, caracal nut shells, ancient and not so ancient Clocks, Mao buttons and Cultural Revolt ton memorabilia porcelain and furniture-it has been 1orn clown.

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