Good Buys in Xi'an


Xi'an arts and crafts are distinctive and far-famed for their old-fashioned and antique flavor, elegant and graceful designs, and consummate making techniques. There are many tourist goods stores in Xi'an, e.g. the Antique Street near the Forest of Steles Museum; Xi'an Antique market placed near the Middle Rose Finch Road in the southern suburbs of Xi'an; Wenbao Room located on the No.5 Middle Yanta (goose and tower) Road, etc. In these places, you can purchase terra-cotta warrior and horse figures replicas, reproductions of Chin Dynasty bronze chariots and horses, Tang San Cai replicas, calligraphy rubbings, paper cuttings, farmers' paintings, and color-painted clay figures.


Terra-cotta Warrior and Horse Figures Replicas

Don't forget to take a terra-cotta warrior or horse figure home with you! Many different types of replicas are available as souvenirs in Xi'an, from a few inches tall to life-size! From big to small! Their prices range as well, from one US dollar to several thousand dollars for the largest statues. If you take an organized tour to the Terracotta warrior site, your tour will probably stop by one of Xi'an "Terra-cotta Warrior and Horse Figures Replicas" factories. You can buy one there or buy in the Xi'an Friendship Store.


Reproductions of Chin Dynasty Bronze Chariot and Horse

The lifelike reproductions of the Chin Dynasty bronze chariots and horses are modeled on the No. one and No. two bronze chariots and horses were unearthed from the Chin Dynasty First Emperor's mausoleum. They are so vivid that they can mix with the genuine. They have been sung high praise by insiders and tourists from home and foreign countries. Now, the reproductions have become the collector's item in the treasury of Chinese crafts and arts. In these years, many reproductions have been taken as the largess of the state guests to be presented to the foreign governments and the heads of state.


Tang San Cai Replicas

Tang San Cai (tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty) is a kind of famous handicraft article made in the Tang Dynasty, which assimilated the artistic style of traditional Chinese paintings and sculptures when being made. These potteries have rough lines, bold outlines and splendid colors, they look very harmonious. The colored glazes on the potteries are very brilliant, when the unglazed potteries were burnt out from the pottery kilns they were glazed the dark reddish brown, grass green and blue. These potteries look simple but well-rounded, grandiloquent but distortionless, which shows a very high state of the art.

The genuine articles of Tang San Cai are cultural relics of the country you cannot buy on the market unless you go for an auction. Now there are many Tang San Cai Replicas are sold on the antique markets in Xi'an. There are tri-colored glazed ceramic figurines, tri-colored glazed ceramic horses, tri-colored glazed ceramic camels, and tri-colored glazed ceramic wares, etc. These replicas are distinctive in style and with unique artistic charm, which is treasured by visitors from home and abroad.

To purchase some Tang Sancai Replicas, please go and bargain in the Xi'an Friendship Store or Xi'an Cultural Relics Store.


Paper Cuttings of North Shaanxi Province

Paper cutting is a time-honored fork art form in China, which is extremely popular with people of all ethnic groups in China. The paper cutting in North Shaanxi Province (including Yulin City and Yan'an City) is the most outstanding among them. This folk art is very common in the Shaanxi Province rural areas. For important festivals, holidays and events people in the rural areas use paper cutting to decorate the furniture, the doors and windows of their houses with multicolor paper cuttings. With these decorations, they hope good luck and happiness can last forever in their lives. Usually, the designs of the paper cuttings are very interesting, varied and rich, such as the legends, myths, folk stories, animals, Chinese characters, and landscapes are all the raw materials for the paper cuttings.

The beautiful paper cuttings of North Shaanxi Province are simple but esthetical, which have been exhibited in Xi'an and Beijing and received a favorable report. In recent years, the craftsmen of paper cuttings have visited many countries to show their art and dropped a bomb throughout the world.

Do you have a bent for art? So buy the folk paper cuttings with Shaanxi style as souvenirs or decorate your house with them will bring you a sense of exoticism. The paper cuttings can be purchasable in all Xi'an, and though they are not dear, you'd better haggle over the prices when you pick some up in the tourist attractions.


Shaanxi Farmers' Paintings

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 cultural and historical figures, animals, flowers and birds etc. Their compositions of the paintings are simple and aesthetic. The paintings laid emphasis on colors and pursued 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 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 of 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.

Color-painted Clay Figures of Fengxiang

The color-painted clay figures of Fenxiang County are world-renowned for their exaggerated designs, bright colors and bijou appearances. These clay figures have more than 600 years of history in China. The clay sculptures have drawn their inspiration from the characters of the dramas, birds and beasts, folklores, history stories, etc. All the clay figures are handmade. Their making procedure is as follows: Firstly, the samples are made by the folk artisan; Secondly, the moulding beds are modeled on them; Thirdly, pieces of tailored clods are put into the moulding beds to form the figures before making the clay figures; Finally, they are taken out from the moulding beds, and the white clay is applied to them and rendered with different colors. Having a view and emulate on the whole making process in a certain workhouse in Xi'an, you can try to make one figure you like best.

Yulin Rugs

The traditional Shaanxi artwork, Yulin (a city of Shaanxi) rugs are knit by hand with the well-chosen high-grade local sheep's wool. Such rugs are well elastic, velvet and colorfast. Their textures are tightened and particular. The designs of the rugs have very old-fashioned and antique flavors, regardless of whether plain color or rich color they always make a proper match. These rugs are well refined and florid with a traditional aesthetic feeling and strong third dimension. It is a good choice to present rugs to your friends!


Lantian Jade Carving

Lantian jade carving is native to Lantian County, Shaanxi Province, which is celebrated at all times and all over the world for its long history, fine engraving and beautiful ornamental mould.

The texture of the Lantian Jade is hard and close-grained. The jade is usually multicolor, it touches gently and shone with every hue in the light. The composition of the Lantian Jade ore includes some sedimentary strata such as the ophiolite, tremolite, peridot, kallaite, dolerite and brucite, etc. Its chemical composition includes alumina, magnesia sodium oxide, calcia, cupric oxide, and bengala. Its Mohs hardness ranges from 2 to 6 so this is a very good material for jade carving.

According to the physicochemical assay, there are many microelements conduce to humans in the Lantian Jade e.g. calcium, iron, potassium, natrium, manganese, cuprum etc. Lantian Jade is deemed as the health protection jade because it not only stimulate the circulation of the blood and causes the muscles and joints to relax but also keeps youth and strengthens the body. If a person often girds a piece of jade or wears a jade bracelet, the microelements will be intaken by the body via his or her skin, and therefore reaches a balance in yin and yang and Qi and blood (a term of TCM), and brings on health care, preventing from diseases and lengthening people's life.

The jade wares made of the Lantian jade shone with jade green, look crystal and filled with verve. Their shapes are diverse, some like dark green pine trees and green cypress trees, some like a school of fishes swimming in the water, some like blossoming peony, some like flowering chrysanthemum, some like panda biting bamboo, or a tiger howling in the valley, or a flying crane...

Now the Lantian Jade Carvings are very popular with home and foreign consumers, they have been found in many jade articles stores in Xi'an and the markets in the western countries.


Cloisonné Articles

The cloisonné articles are very important kinds of metalworking handicraft articles in China and their history can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty (A.D.1206-1368). To make a cloisonné article, firstly, the red copper is made as a proximate matter; Secondly, the gold lines or copper lines are folded into flowers, and then put the color enamels into the flowers, at last, burning, polishing and plating the article.

The shapes of the cloisonné articles are very unusual and delicate. Their patterns are statedly, colors are splendid, and with very distinctive national features. The cloisonné articles have been the traditional export handicraft articles of China.

In Xi'an, the Xi'an Metal Handicraft Plant is a famous plant for producing cloisonné articles. If you want to buy cloisonné articles you can go there or some of the handicraft articles stores in Xi'an to have a look.


Yaozhou Celadon Porcelain

Celadon Porcelain (Qing Ciqi) is a kind of porcelain that originated in the Song Dynasty. Because the kaolin is very rich in Yaozhou (now called Yao County), here has become a very important porcelain-producing area since Tang Dynasty. And it is one of the biggest six pottery kilns in ancient China. In Yaozhou, many celadon porcelaneous wares are produced such as bowls, cups, calixes, trays, jars, stoves, and vases, etc. The designs of the Yaozhou Celadon Porcelaneous wares are very elegant and pretty, and the surfaces of the ceramic glaze are blue with virescent. The porcelains are Crystal and smooth, yet also useful and durable. Their workmanship are exquisite. They are described: as skillful in the moulding metal patterns and as delicate as carving jades. The Yaozhou Celadon Porcelains have become the gems of collections in many museums in China or many other countries.

A good place to purchase Yaozhou Celadon Porcelain is in the gift shop at the Forest of Steles.


Facsimiles by Frescoes of the Tang Dynasty

The frescoes in the mausoleums of the Tang Dynasty are the most outstanding of those which had been unearthed. They have very high cultural relic value, artistic value and scientific research value. In order to gratify the desirability of the experts at home and abroad, the fanciers of cultural relics and the travelers, the arts and craft workers and many artists in Xi'an have portrayed many frescoes from those in some of the mausoleums of the princesses and princes of Tang Dynasty. The facsimiles include the Painting of Beautiful Ladies, Go Hunting, Playing Polo, the Guard of Honor, etc. These facsimiles are high in grade, exquisite made and rare in numbers. They are indispensable collections for the fanciers of cultural relics and the experts at home and abroad.



Bellyband is the traditional close-fitting finery of the people in the central Shanxi plain and the Northern Shanxi. It looks something like the front part of the waistcoat, and there are two strips on its upper end for tying the neck, and the other two are on the lower end for tying the waist. Bellyband is used for preventing the belly from catching a cold. In these areas, both adults and children wear bellybands. The adults wear them for underwear, while the children wear the bands for the dress. When wearing the bands in the hot days, the children look very naive.

The bellyband has two tiers. Both sides of it are openings for putting money or other things into it. The inner linings of the bellybands are all white cloth, those for children whose outer linings are made from red cloth, and those for adults whose outer linings are made from black cloth. The outer linings of the bellybands usually are embroidered the colorful pictures. For example, those children have a tiger head embroidery or pictures of the five poisonous animals (scorpion, snake, centipede, gecko, toad). Those for the newlyweds are embroidered with two mandarin ducks swimming in water which indicates the conjugal love of the newlyweds. In the Lington area where most bellybands are embroidered toads, they are their amulets and the symbol of procreation worship. But in the Dali and Heyang Counties, the bellybands look like calabash or pumpkin. Because the two things have many seeds and they are the staple food of the ancient people, which symbolize more children and happiness.


Xylographs for Spring Festival

It is known that Chinese people like pasting Spring Festival Pictures on their doors and walls of the halls in Spring Festival. The pictures have many ways in their makings, some are drawn by drawers, some are printed by machines and some are cut and printed by the xylographers. The Xylographs for the Spring Festival of Fengxiang County are famous woodblocks and have a history of more than 500 years, which belong to one of the big styles of folk Spring Festival pictures in China. They can be dated from Tang and Song Dynasties and flourished in Qing Dynasty. The compositions of the woodcuts are primitive, simple, and exaggerated. And the lines of the pictures are rough, the colors are very brilliant, and the figures look very intrepid. They are mainly handcrafted. The Fengxiang County Spring Festival Xylograph with very strong local rustic folk- custom, they stake a good hope on peace, tranquility and safety of people. Now lots of woodcuts for the Spring Festival of Fengxiang County have been collected in many famous museums in the world. So do not miss this fantastic remembrance when you have a visit to Xi'an.


Shaanxi Opera Masks

The Shaanxi Opera Masks are made by the facial makeup of the Shaanxi Opera. In the opera performance, the different greasepaints colored on the faces of the performers stand for different characters, for instance, red for loyalty; black for righteousness, impertinence or intrepidity; yellow for atrocity; blue and green for hotspurs; white for treacherous court officials and baddies. The Shaanxi Opera Masks are not only kinds of artful and exquisite handicraft articles but the rare data for studying the art of Shaanxi Opera and folk customs and practices.


Shaanxi Shadow Puppets

The Chinese Shadow Puppet Show (Leather-silhouette Show) goes back over 2,000 years of the Western Han Dynasty. If you have no opportunity to see this occult shadow puppet show during your Xi'an tour, please buy a shadow puppet keep as a souvenir.

The puppets are made from high-grade donkey hide or cow leather, and many fork arts such as paper cuttings, paper cuts for window decoration, door paintings and carvings of arts and crafts are used as a source of reference. This ancient art syncretizes most Chinese folk art techniques, such as scraping, abrading, engraving, dying, ironing, embellishing, etc. To make a puppet, it must be applied to more than twenty working procedures and some of the techniques as above mentioned, it is very complicated.

The Shaanxi Shadow Puppets having possessed beautiful designs, strong national features and rich local colors, and the ordinary people in Xi'an have a great liking for them. Besides, they are feasts for travelers' eyes, ideal for home decoration, distinctive presents to friends or relatives and a special souvenir.

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