Buying souvenirs can be one of the best parts of the journey. There is so much good and interesting in those moments for everyone. Except for the fact that you’ll bring nice handmade and original products that you won’t find anywhere else, there is a certain bond with the culture in every single piece that reveals some part of the history and tradition.
Besides, all those lively products are made in the hands of the people that live there and by shopping locally you’ll be contributing to the locals’ communities best development as well.
With so many inventions and traditions that started in China thousands of years ago, you may get surprised how many souvenirs are there to choose from. Although there are many products that can be brought back home, for practical reasons the suggested ones won’t make any difference to your luggage weight. Since the paper was invented in China it makes the choice that much easier.
So many beautiful souvenirs made only of paper:
Paper-cuttings are maybe the best Chinese souvenir to take home. Because of their length, you won’t need to worry much about packing. Although paper-cuttings are popular in many countries around the world, after the paper was invented in China, it’s more than obvious that this technique of art form firstly would be developed in China. They were used as a decoration of doors and windows in those days and were most commonly found in the color of red. Today you can buy paper -cuttings or jianzhi (in Chinese) at every souvenir shop in China.
Chinese Kites. Inventive and fun kites are great for kids and adults as well. It can be made of paper, wood or plastic, in different colors. Invented in China, when kites were used for the first time it was for messaging and communication in military missions. Today we can have fun at the beaches or parks when flying kites for our pleasure. We only need a little bit of wind. I couldn’t say why but the picture of a diamond kite with a tail flying in the air up in the sky is simply cheerful. It’s one of the most associated souvenirs to be brought from China.
Chinese Lanterns. I found Chinese lanterns as very unique. Basically, they are lamps made of paper with round shapes (as the most utilized form). In China, there is a Lantern Festival celebrated on the last day of a Chinese New Year and lanterns are used as decoration lights on the streets in China in that period of the year. The red color of the lanterns signifies good fortune and happiness. Today they can be found in modern, different shapes, such as dragons, one of the popular ones.
Paper hand fans are great for cooling off in the summer days. I have always been impressed by and found them as an interesting accessory. If you want to cool off in the right way you have to make a certain position of the body, which somehow comes naturally when waving with the fan. Although invented in Japan if the paper wasn’t invented in China in the first place they wouldn’t have existed today. Handmade or fabric, with paintings inspired by Chinese nature or culture, there are tons to choose from.
Calligraphy is a beautiful writing and artistic expression of the human language. Chinese calligraphy is very appreciated and at some point in Chinese history was more important than the word itself. It was invented in the Shang Dynasty when chopsticks were as well, and there are five different styles of Chinese calligraphy. As one memory quite symbolic and valuable, when visiting China your name or initials can be done on a piece of paper by a Chinese calligrapher.
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Chopsticks are very symbolic and emblematic of the Chinese culture and dining. Made of bamboo, wood, plastic or steel, it’s a pair of two equal sticks used for eating food. Although today they are used in many of the Asian countries, they were invented in China and therefore are a quite unique example related to China. There is a huge range to choose from with different designs that can make one great memory of your visit. Besides, they are utile and can be used furthermore with your meals when you get back home.
Chinese tea is among the most cultivated products in China consumed in every part of the day, accompanied with every meal. In general, tea as a drink originates from China. There are dozens of not just varieties, but regions to choose from. In fact, you’ll probably consume it quite often during your stay so why don’t bring some of that memory back home and share it with your beloved ones. Visit one of the tea houses or tea malls where you can taste the tea before you buy it. It’s very light and unique product highly advisable to be brought from a few different plants. It can be bought, more or less at every street corner, in the markets or shops.
China is the largest producer of silk and as such the opportunities that can be found here for buying silk, you won’t find anywhere else. If interested in buying something stylish, that’s typical for the Chinese women, a one-piece qipao Mandarin collar dress would be a very fashionable pick. Although silk products can be quite expensive, some of them are affordable like scarf or pajamas. They are not heavy either and can be easily packed and carried in the luggage.
Jade is a precious stone discovered in China, used and carved since ancient times. Green jade is the most expensive and traditional and more valuable than gold in China. Today a beautiful jewelry made of jade can be bought in China, but if you can’t make that difference in the quality and preciousness be aware that there are fake examples on the market as well and be more cautious when buying it.
For the animal lovers, there is no better gift than panda bears. Pandas are native to China, symbolizing peace and good fortune, and they only live in the bamboo forests of central China. If given to the right person, these black and white teddy bears can make some faces of the nearest and dearest very happy.