As an important historical city as well as a vital economic center in Northwest China, recently Xian has witnessed a tremendous boost in its economy. Shops, department stores, mega-halls etc. seem to sprout up overnight and business areas are highly concentrated, greatly convenient local citizens and travelers from all over the world. Here everything from daily necessities, local specialties, souvenirs, to luxury goods and global fashion brands are all available. Let TOC be your guide to dig deeper of shopping in Xian.
What to shop
Replicas of the terracotta warriors and horses
About 20 years ago, the discovery of Terracotta Warriors and Horses shocked the whole world. Each year millions of people from both home and abroad come to Xian to appreciate this miracle. So as to enable travelers to take the wonder home, the locals have made a lot of mini-replicas of it. The replicas are exquisite, vivid-molded, excellent in workmanship, high in quality and reasonable in price, enjoying great popularity among travelers. Besides, different-sized ones are for different uses, with the large-sized ones(maybe the same size as the real terracotta warriors) used in art galleries, historical museums etc. and a ratio of 1 to 2 or 1 to 4 for family & company decoration as well as a ratio of 1 to 8 made as souvenirs or gifts for relatives and friends.
Rubbings of the stone tablets
Rubbings of the stone tablets are copies of the stone inscriptions in the Forest of Steles- a treasure trove of calligraphic art, where houses over 2,400 tablets engraved with masterpieces of the most famous calligraphers in Chinese history, including Yan Zhenqin, Liu Gongquan, Ouyang Xun, Chu Suiliang of Tang Dynasty (618-907) etc. Hence, the rubbings are extremely popular among calligraphy fans, learners and collectors. With an aroma of antiquity, it is another fine gift for friends.
Tang tri-colored glazed pottery
Originating from Tang Dynasty (618-907), Tang tri-colored glazed pottery is a type of precious pottery with the dominant colors of yellow, white and green. Through quite complicated manufacturing procedures, it is of super artistic merits, renowned for bright colors, exaggerated but vivid shapes and animated expressions. It altogether has three types in shape: animal, household utensil and figure, among which animal occupies the majority. The major ones, however, are largely in the form of horses and camels, mainly reflecting the historical background of the Tang Dynasty. At that time, horses were the most important transportation vehicles, transferring people and letters from one place to another. They also devoted in the battlefields and farmlands. While, the camels are for longer distances, taking merchants and their goods from the East to the West along the Silk Road.
Fengxiang Painted clay sculpture
Fengxiang Painted clay sculpture is one of four major clay sculptures in Chinese folk art. It enjoys a great fame for its mighty and lovable shapes, bright and warm colors, sleek and lithe lines as well as romantic and mystical designs. Tiger, regarded by the locals as a mascot that can defend homes, protect children, ward off evil and prolong life, is the main theme of Fengxiang Painted Clay Sculpture. There are also some clay sculptures taking on forms of the other animals in Chinese zodiac and characters from Chinese ancient fair tales, such as the Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West etc.
Liantian jade is named after its birth place -- Lantian County in Shaanxi Province. It has been highly valued even since ancient times. Imperial jade seal (a seal only used by emperors and symbolizes supreme power) of Qin Shi Huang (First Emperor of Qin) is made of it, which is also the material for the jade belt of Yang Guifei (favorite royal concubine of Emperor Xuanzong in Tang Dynasty; one of the Four Beauties in Chinese history). With a bright and fresh appearance, it represents sweet love, thus is especially popular among young people.
Physical tests show that it contains many trace elements that are beneficial to health. The elements will permeate into skin before being absorbed by the body, bringing extraordinary effects in relaxing muscles, enlivening blood and keeping youthfulness. Therefore, Lantian jade is widely regarded as health-care jade.
With a wide range of themes and a unique style, Shaanxi paper-cut has been thriving as a marvelous Chinese folk art for centuries. In the Spring Festival and other auspicious occasions, people always decorated their rooms with beautiful paper-cuts, signifying delightfulness and happiness. Some paper-cuts reflect daily-life activities or customs, while others revolve people’s fine wishes for happy lives; there are also some that display legendary and dramatic stories. Vigorous, delicate and exquisite are its best features.
Where to shop
Commercial districts in Xian mainly scatter along Dong Dajie, Nan Dajia, Jiefang Road, and Drum Tower, with many shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets as well as various speciality shops dotted, offering high quality commodities.
Located to the east of Drum Tower, Dong Dajia is the real shopping center of Xian. Here Kai Yuan Shopping Mall and Parkson Shopping Plaza are the biggest department stores praised for both prices and quality. Together with Jiefang Road, these two commercial centers are recently undergoing expansions. After the construction, Jiefang Road will be the biggest business pedestrian street in Xian and Dong Dajie will be another Wangfujing Street in China.
How to get there:
Dong Dajie: take bus No. 5, 7, 8, 14, 20, 25, 27, 29, 30, 37, 40, 41, 43, 45, 102, 201, 203, 213, 218, 235, 252, 300, 351, 500, 601, 602, 604, K605, 606, 607, 611, 612, K630, 702, 704, 705, 710 and stop at Dachashi station.
Jiefang Road: take bus No. 5, 14, 15, 16, 20, 25, 30, 32, 40, 41, 46, 102, 201, 251, 309, 500, 502, 602, 603, 607, 611, K605, 702, 705, 706 and 710 and get off at Minleyuan station; or take No. 5, 7, 8, 14, 20, 25, 27, 29, 30, 37, 40, 41, 43, 45, 102, 201, 203, 213, 218, 235, 252, 300, 351, 500, 601, 602, 604, K605, 606, 607, 611, 612, K630, 702, 704, 705, 710 and stop at Dachashi station.
If you want to track the trails of history and perceive the essence of culture, antique markets in Xian are the best places. The followings are the most famous ones in Xian.
Shu Yuan Men (The Art Street)
Blessed with antiques, curios as well as handicrafts, Shu Yuan Men has become a must-visit place for antique lovers and collectors. With Bell Tower and Forest of Stone Steles Museum near by, it is a winding bluestone alley coupled by many quaint little stores lying under verdant trees. Modern handiworks play a leading role here. all the four treasures of Chinese study (i.e. writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper), pottery figures, scrolls of calligraphy and paintings, Dark-red Enabled Potteries, seal cuttings and sculptures etc. can surely meet the needs of every visitor here. Besides, roaming in a graceful and elegant place like this is already a joyful experience.
Bus lines: K600, 600 at Nanmenli station.
Xian Antique Market
Also named as Zhuque Antique Market by the locals, Xian Antique Market is situated at the middle of Zhuque Street. Set up in 1998, it is the biggest antique market in the city, possessing hundreds of stores and over 150 booths, with the later interspersed along the aisles. Here gathers a lot of genuine pieces, especially the utensils, which are mostly ceramic or porcelain pots in various shapes. Besides, bronzes and jade articles giving off fragrance of fresh earth are glittering in the market as well.
Bus lines: take bus No. 6, 16, 23, 29, 31, 35, 204, 402, 405, 501, 512, 701, 707, 713, 800, 910 and stop at Zhuquemen station
Ba Xian Gong (Temple of the Eight Immortals) Antique Market
Ba Xian Gong Antique Market is one of the two biggest antique markets in Xian, together with Xian Antique Market. Situated to the south of Temple of the Eight Immortals, it based on folk trades, featured with a wide range of sellers and buyers as well as a large number of transactions. However, imitations are very popular in Ba Xian Gong, thus do examine them carefully before your purchasing.
Bus lines: take bus No. 22, 32, 33, 47, 232, 502, 527, 721, 801 and stop at Zhongshanmen station.
Peasant Painting Gallery
If you are take interest in the folk arts of Shaanxi, Peasant Painting Gallery is your best choice. Located in the east outskirts of Xian, it exhibits some 250 peasant paintings and other types of folk crafts like paper-cuts and shadow puppets.
Ticket Price: 5 RMB per person
Bus line: Long-distance bus to Hu County.
The opening hours of the shopping malls in the commercial districts are usually from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. And bargainning is encouraged when you lingering in the little curio shops. What’s more, there are many counterfeits mingling with the genuine pieces, so you will never be too cautious. If you are interested in the shopping ideas offered above and want to add them in your Xian tours, please talk to the trip advisors of TOC for customization. Wish you a great trip here!