The art of ceramics is so entwined with Chinese culture that porcelain is also called “china” in English. Although the modern Beijing has become a center of economics and politics, we are glad to still be able to find markets where this old art still flourishes.
Ceramics can be categorized into industrial products, such as bricks and tiles, and and art product, such as handmade pottery and fine porcelain. Chinese ceramics can also be identified as being from the north or the south, due to the differences in the raw materials caused by contrasting geology.
Here’s our list of the best places in the capital to find pottery and porcelain products.As you and your family explore the markets where they are sold, you can also take the opportunity to acquaint your kids with some Chinese history and culture. For example, the word “china” actually comes from the transliteration of Changnan, the old name for Jingde Town until the Song dynasty (960–1279), where some of the country’s best porcelain is made.
Minlong Pottery Market 闽龙陶瓷市场
This large-scale market sells pottery, cloisonne enamel, porcelain and many other Chinese art works. A wide variety of goods on displayed at the front of the market, with more goods stored for wholesale at the back. These vendors are also popular among locals shopping for building material, such as floor tiles.
Daily 8am-6:30pm. East part of Shilihe Lu, Chaoyang Street (6747 767) 北京市朝阳区十里河建材一条街东段
Beijing Curio City 北京古玩城
You can find historic and artistic ceramic pieces in this four-floor building among many other antique goods such as Chinese paintings, antique furniture, bone carvings, pearls and jade products. You may spot some of the best Jinde Town porcelain and tri-colored glazed pottery, tangsancai (唐三彩) among numerous counterfeits. Do not assume that you’ll always get genuine antiques at a low price; this is also a tourist attraction after all.
Daily 9:30am-6:30pm. 21 Dongsanhuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (6774 7711) 朝阳区东三环南路21号
Panjiayuan Antique Market 潘家园旧货市场
Within walking distance of Beijing Curio City, Panjiayuan Antique Market is packed with Chinese folk culture. Ceramics take up most of the space in the northwestern section and the market seems to have something for everyone, from casual visitor to serious buyer. Even Hilary Clinton has paid a visit. Kids may also be interested in the Chinese paintings, works of calligraphy, shadow play or ancient coins on display.
Daily 6:30am-4:30pm. 18 Huawei Li, Chaoyang District (6774 1869) 朝阳区华威里18号
Liangma Collection Market 亮马收藏品市场
This market is similar in style to Panjiayuan Antique Market but is much more conveniently located near the embassy district. Prices are a little higher though, probably because it is popular with foreigners.
Daily 9:30am-6:30pm. 27 Liangma Lu, Chaoyang District (6462 1625) 朝阳区亮马桥路27号
Beijing Ladies’ Street 女人街
Ladies’ Street is located not far from the Lufthansa Center. Among the accessories, bikinis, clothes and women’s products you’d expect to find here, given the name, you can also find dazzling modern and antique porcelain products, pottery vases, sculptures and tea pots. Why not reward yourself with a manicure or a massage there after shopping?
Daily 10am-7pm (for most of the stores). 9 Maizidian Xilu, Chaoyang District (6462 6636) 朝阳区麦子店西路9号
Photo by Helga’s Lobster Stew (Flickr)