Boasting more than 20 professional craft
workshops and over ten thousand staff, Nanjing produces various kinds of
handicraft. Among the different goods produced are the: cloud-pattern
brocade, velvet, imitations of ancient ivory carving and wood carvings.
The Yuhua Pebble (yuhuashi) from the Yuhua
Terrace is also a popular souvenir and many pebbles carry a specific
tale or legend with them. The best place to buy souvenirs is in the area
Temple. Be prepared to bargain hard however, as store owners here
have a tendency to over-charge foreigners!
In terms of department stores, while not
quite on a par with neighboring Shanghai, most modern amenities are
available in the city. There is a great department store attached to the Growne Plaza. The
area around the Universities has some good little boutiques with fairly
Imitation Ancient Ivory Carvings are very
popular in Nanjing. The most common pieces depict figures, animals and
vessels. One masterpiece, "The Princess Wencheng Leaving for
Tibet" was chosen as one of the nine best traditional handicrafts
produced in China. Besides this, other pieces are also very popular
including the "Duanwu Dragon Boat", "A Tang Person Hits
his friend called Ju"(!!) and Dancing Figures from the Tang
Dynasty. Look around the Confucius
Temple area for pretty ivory carvings. Most of the big department
stores also sell this kind of thing.
Among the many handicrafts produced in
Nanjing, the traditional cloud-pattern brocade is the most famous. The
name derives from the fact that the pattern on the material is said to
resemble beautiful clouds. First made in the Southern Dynasty, it
gradually developed during the Yuan Dynasty and was most popular during
the Ming and Qing Dynasty.
There have always been special institutes
in charge of making garments with cloud-pattern brocade for the imperial
family or foreign dignitaries. Try looking around the Confucius
Temple area and at the night market on Hunan
Lu for this brocade.
Velvet is a material which is traditionally
made and crafted in Nanjing. There are two main types of velvet produced
in the region: silk velvet and silk-floss velvet. This velvet is used in
tapestry, cushions, rugs, clothing and upholstery. There are numerous
shops near Gulou roundabout on Hunan Lu where you can purchase good
Nanjing wood carvings
include the imitation wood carving and boxwood carvings. The former is
plain in color, with the horse and Buddha's carving the most popular.
The latter mainly depicts animals and figures.
Yuhua Pebble, mainly found in Yuhua
Terraces (Yuhautai), is a unique tourist souvenir to Nanjing. It is a
hard composite of quartz, jade and opal and commonly known as the Yuhua
agate. Today, many of these pretty colored stones are made into
ear-rings, rings and pendants. Those exquisitely polished, can be as
expensive as other more famous gems.