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Xian is one of the most important industrial and commercial cities in western China. With the progress of the local commerce, shopping in Xian is much convenient now. Commercial districts are comparatively centralized inside the ancient city wall of Xian; it is easy for tourists to find the daily necessities and local products in and around the city center area.

Replica of Tang Dynasty Tri-colored Pottery
The early Tang Dynasty (618-907) was a manifestation of political harmony and economic strength. Manufacturing techniques improved, as did those of pottery. The emergence of tri-colored pottery brought China's age-old traditional ceramic industry to a new high. Although its production lasted only 100 years at its peak, tri-colored pottery nevertheless had a great influence on succeeding dynasties, and was replicated both at home and abroad, resulting in Song-Dynasty tri-color, Liao-Dynasty tri-color, and Japan's Nara tri-color, to name only three.
Tang Dynasty tri-color pottery is the generic name for color-glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty. Its colors include yellow, green, brown, blue, black and white, but the first three shades of yellow, green and brown are its major tones. The body was made from white clay, and after the clay mold had been fired into a fixed shape, a mineral frit containing such elements as copper, iron, cobalt and manganese was applied. The body would then be fired again at a temperature of around 900 degrees centigrade. Since the frit was high in lead compounds, its fusing degree was low, and it would therefore diffuse while being heated, allowing different colors to permeate. Though tri-color pottery took more time and went through a complex process in its making, it was not as solid and durable as porcelain, and had a high lead content. It was, therefore, used mainly for burial utensils, and rarely for items of daily use.
Since ancient Chinese attached equal importance to their earthly and after life, different types of tri-color were made to represent each aspect of earthly life, and included articles of daily use, human and animal figures, furniture, vehicles, miniature landscapes and buildings. The human and animal figures are notable for their excellence of workmanship, which is far superior to many contemporary plastic art works.
Most of the tri-color human figures are female. They range in size from a dozen centimeters to over one meter tall, and wear gorgeous, fashionable costumes whilst emanating grace and refinement. Their full figure and round face are in conformity with the criteria of beauty in the Tang Dynasty. Human figures also include depictions of Hu people (a general term for people of non-Han origin), which make them a unique feature of the Tang Dynasty.
Xian Shuyuanmen Art Street
Beside the ancient city wall behind the Forest of Steles in Xian, there is a well-known street in the style of ancient style – Shuyuanmen which starts from the South Gate and ends at the Museum of Stone Steles. Ming and Qing dynasty buildings are lined up along this one kilometer long stone paved street. Various local handicrafts and arts including Chinese paintings, rubbings of stone tablets are sold on this crowded street all year long. Historical relics, calligraphy, paintings, antiques, jewels, and folk art fine works are all tourist favorites.
Rubbings of Stone Tablets
Stone tablets bear evidence to ancient records, statues and architectural decorations. From column bases, door frames, stone coffins to stone tablets, all of these objects are valuable because they reveal the facts of ancient politics, economy, culture, science and technology, military affairs, art, ethnical contact and religious activities. Over 3000 stone tablets from the Eastern Han Dynasty through the Qing Dynasty are preserved in the Forest of Stone Tablets in Xi’an. Most of the tablets were carved by some famous ancient calligraphers. The best examples are the “Tablet to Duobao Pagoda” by Yan Zhenqing, the “Tablet to Mysterious Pagoda” by Liu Gongquan, works of cursive writing by Monk Huai Su, and works of Ouyang Xun and Chu Suiliang. Therefore, they are always favored by calligraphy fans as copies for practice.
Xian Huajuexiang Muslim Market
Right beside the Drum Tower begins the Muslim quarters. The Xian Muslim Market is a myriad of interesting handicraft shops, Muslim restaurants and vendors and narrow streets where you can spend much time shopping and walking. The Muslim Quarters feature a mix of Chinese and Islamic cultures where small alleyways have been turned into marketplaces. The street food here is good, as with all Muslim areas, and along with the vast array of tourist goods such as replica antiques, copied paintings, etc, on sale, there are a lot of interesting ordinary shops and stalls. Remember that you need to bargain very hard here.
Xian Huxian Farmer’s Painting
The special type of souvenir from Xi'an is the Shaanxi Farmers' Paintings drawn by the farmers of Shaanxi. The farmer painters obtain creative materials and find their inspiration from the cultural and historical figures, animals, flowers and birds etc. Their compositions of the paintings are simple and aesthetic. The paintings are laid emphasis on colors and pursue strongly visualized effects. They with very strong rural life atmosphere, and have formed a unique artistic style, and so they have been reviewed favorably by the travelers and experts from home and abroad. The paintings are mostly distributed in Hu County of the central Shanxi plain, Ansai County and Luochuan County of Northern Shaanxi Province. Among them, Hu County is extolled as the Home of Farmers' Paintings, and now this county has more than 2,000 native-born painters, most their best works have been kept by art galleries at home and abroad. The beautiful farmers' paintings can be bought at many tourist attractions from vendors and in small shops nearby, but you have to drive a hard bargain if you want to make a reasonable purchase.


Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 14:48  

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