Besides being a great travel destination in Asia, Yunnan is offering its guests great shopping opporunities. The world famous Pu'er Tea of southern Yunnan, the green and shiny jade stones which have a long tradition in Yunnan and of course arts and handcrafts of Yunnan's numerous ethnic minorities can enrich your visit to Yunnan and Southwest China. We have put together a short overview of souvenirs you might be interested in.
One of the most famous teas in China, Pu'er tea has been produced in Yunnan for centuries. The tea after being picked is dried before being pressed for storage. Traditionally the tea was compressed into a brick shape for easy storage and shipping, but now is pressed into disk, bowl, and mushroom shapes. Yunnan was one end of the famous Ancient Tea Horse Trail, and the tea that was shipped along the trail was all Yunnan Puer. Puer Tea has a rich flavor and aroma and the tea liquor is rich red in color. One reason that Puer Tea has become so popular is that it ages. Like a fine wine, Puer Tea improves with age and older Puer Tea fetches tens of thousands of dollars. Many Chinese people buy Puer Tea as an investment.
Related top recommendations from our prior clients: Luyu Tea Exchange Centre; Dr. Tea
Jade objects have been crafted in Yunnan for centuries and are sold throughout China and around the world. The jade comes in a large variety of colors, and quality. Jade, being the hardest stone in the world requires many years of apprenticeship before an artisan can create a work of art. Jade cannot actually be carved, it needs to be ground with diamond grit tools. In ancient times, diamond dust was used to grind the items by hand, but now electric tools are used. The jade can be made into many different items. Jade broaches, pendants, earrings, seals, decorative ornaments, chopsticks, and much more can all be found in Yunnan.
Related top recommendations from our prior clients: Colorful Yunnan; Spring City Flower Market; Jia Ruihua Jade
It is well known that silk is discovered in China as one of the best materials for clothing - it has a look and feeling of richness that no other materials can match. "A silkworm spins all its silk till its death and a candle won't stop its tears until it is fully burnt." This Tang poem accurately describes the property of the silkworm. Despite technological development, a silkworm can only produce a certain amount of silk---1000 meters (3280feet) in its lifespan of 28 days. The rarity of the raw material is the deciding factor of both the value and the mystery of silk.
Related top recommendations from our prior clients: China Silk Centre
Chinese herbal medicine is one of the great herbal systems of the world, with an unbroken tradition going back to the 3rd century BC. Yet throughout its history it has continually developed in response to changing clinical conditions, and has been sustained by research into every aspect of its use. This process continues today with the development of modern medical diagnostic techniques and knowledge. Yunnan, due to its special geography and diverse climate, it has an honour of "the kindom of plants" and "the treasury of medicine".
Related top recommendations from our prior clients: Dong Tai Yang Sheng Chinese Medical Health Centre
Dai Embroidery, created by women of the Dai ethnic minority group, is famous for its high level of quality. Almost every Dai woman learns to make embroidery when they are very young, and it is an integral part of their culture. Dai Embroidery is known for its unique patterns, and beautiful and bright colors. Subject matter for the Dai Embroidery varies greatly. Birds, animals, flowers, and the five grains; rice, two kinds of millet, wheat and beans are very popular subject for the embroidery. Each subject has its own meaning and these designs have been passed down for generations.
Dai and Bai Tie Dye
The Dai and Bai ethnic minority groups are famous for their tie dyed cloth. White cotton cloth is tied and sewn with string, and then dipped into indigo ink. The parts that were tied remain white, while the surrounding cloth is a rich deep blue. The patterns on the Dai tie dye are mainly animals, flowers, dragons and phoenix, and geometric patterns. The cloth is used for many items including; tablecloths, clothing, bags and purses, hats, and even DVD cases. Traditionally indigo dye is used, but recently other colors are more commonly being used.
Yunnan Province's many ethnic minority groups have developed a form of printing cloth that is unique. They use wax to make designs in cloth and the results are very beautiful. The designs vary depending on the minority group, but some of the more popular designs are animals, flowers, birds, and landscapes. The dying technique is surprisingly simple. Melted wax is applied to the cloth with a knife. When the wax is cooled, the cloth is dipped into dye. The parts of the cloth with the wax do not accept the dye leaving them bright white. After the cloth is dipped into the dye several times to reach the desired color, the cloth is allowed to dry. When the cloth is dried, the wax is scrapped off and then the cloth is soaked in hot water to make sure all of the wax is removed. The resulting cloth has a beautiful pattern and the cloth can be used for a multitude of uses.
The ancient city of Dali produces the most famous marble in China. The marble is white with black streaking, which often appears to take on shapes. The marble is used in construction, such as floor tiles, and inlay in furniture. The marble with particularly beautiful patterns are often framed and hung as works of art. The black swirls in the marble can often amazingly look like landscapes, people, or animals. The marble from Dali Ancient City is so famous, that the Chinese word for marble is literally "Dali Stone".
Engraved Green Plums
A traditional and beautiful food of the Bai ethnic minority, Engraved Green Plums is unique to this area. Besides being delicious and beautiful, they are considered to have medicinal qualities. Dried green plums are engraved with various patterns and designs. The fruit is then soaked in a combination of salt, brown sugar and honey. They can be preserved for many months, and are beautiful combination of a work of art and a delicious snack.