Chengdu Travel Diary | Jinli-01
All The Offering In Jinli – Jinli, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Firsts day in Chengdu, since everybody want to try the famous small bite of Chengdu, we decide to first go to Jinli, a popular attraction area. Since this will be my first official visit to a China’s location, I will use Jinli to start my Chengdu Travel Diary series :)
As soon as I enter Jinli, I saw this gentleman roasting tea the traditional way outside of his shop. Are you serious? Is this really happening? Isn’t sight like this the reason I want to visit China so badly? Lady luck was too kind to me, a traditional art was happening live right in front of me.
This is the traditional way of roasting tea. This gentleman continuously using both of his hand brushing the tea leafs over and over again in the hot pan, the steel inside seems hot, but it doesn’t seems to bother him. It was quite an interesting sight to see. It is very interesting that even in this very busy and touristy spot, you can still see things being done the traditional way.
Jinli is a place that sell a lot of things that are very traditionally and culturally Chinese. The strolls that sell these items is very close to each other, there must be hundreds of them in Jinli. We spend a whole day, slowly walking around Jinli, enjoying every view we saw and soaking in every moment.
Walking around Jinli, we saw a lot of items for sell, even though these items are mostly gear for tourist, but I am a tourist, perfect. I will introduce some of what I saw here. There are a lot of strolls selling various items in Jinli. The items for sell are mostly souvenir type of course. Nonetheless, the majority of these items for sell are very cute, very pretty, very colorful and very Chinese
These are the Chinese calligraphy pen, it is traditionally use by the Chinese for writing, drawing and painting. The handle of the calligraphy pen is normally made from bamboo and the tip of the pen are made from either rabbit hare or goat hair. However, most of the handle of these Chinese calligraphy pens sell here are made from bull horn, and according to the sale person, the brushes are made from either horse, ox or a mix of these two types of hair. Well, they are indeed special and they are not cheap. It could cost you up to USD$500.00.
These cute little dolls are made from sticky rice flour. The maker starts with flour of different colors, then cut them into pieces they need and laces them on layer by layer to make it into the final figure they want. They can make anything out of these colorful flour strips – animal, legendary character, hello kitty, doramon, you name it. Whatever figure you can imagine, they can make it.
These flour doll are very bright in color and they look very lively. These doll are for pencil or pen, you can easily slip them on. Light weight and small, they make great souvenir for friends and family, just try not to crush them, they are quite fragile.
Oh, make sure you tell your friend and family not to eat them, even though they are made from flour, they are not edible. We do not want any poisoning incident do we? :)
There is something about the Chinese and their gourd, they love them. Gourd has a long history with the Chinese, not only that they eat them, they also use them as tools, such as container, water bottle and they are also used as the earliest day flask. I bought a couple for that purpose, I haven’t start using them yet. I will let you know how it goes when I do.
Gourds are traditional considered a lucky symbol for the Chinese. They are use in the house to disperse all evil things, put on the bed of the sick to speed up healing, and they also bare the meaning of fertility and peace.
Nowadays, gourds have developed into an art form. Gourds art has its own place in Chinese traditional art now. Like these in the photo, they are beautiful and elegant. Again, they are not cheap, but just by looking at them, you can imagine the hard work that was put inthem :)
Pi Ying See, as the Chinese call it, translate into Skin Shadow Show in English, has been around for more than 1000 years. Similar to puppet show, these shadow skin are control from behind the scene, using strong light to project the shadow onto a piece of cloth that acted as screen.
The cool thing about this is that the shadow projected is in color, which is very unique. Shadow skin show from other culture are normally in black and white only. Before TV and movie theater, skin shadow show is the only available broadcast.
The skin shadow is an art in it self, it is colorful and beautiful. Making it is a very complicated process and it take times and craftsmanship. The skin is usually made from cow or goat skin. They make very nice souvenir.
For most culture, their traditional art and craft are usually made from materials that are commonly available to them, even the toys for children. Chengdu weather is perfect for plan growth, so a lot of their traditional art and craft are made from plans that grow around here. These cute little grass man (girl?) are made from one kind of grass that grows around here. Even though the material is the humble grass, the final product are very exquisite indeed.
*Jinli is a popular tourist spot in Chengdu, Sichuan, China