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Local Products of Beijing

JadeThe special arts and crafts of Beijing have been known to the world since long time ago. Mainly they are jade carving, ivory carving, lacquerware carving, cloisonné, filigree, dough figurines, carpets, palace lanterns and so on.

Handicrafts art is a traditional art in china. The jade carving and ivory carving have a history of 3000 years, while the cloisonné making has a history of more than 500 years. Beijing’s arts and crafts are renowned in the world for its excellent craftsmanship, special national feature, unique local style and its rich life flavor. Some of them won the gold medals or were highly appreciated at international fairs and exhibition.

Jade: According to archeologists and archeological findings, Chinese first began to know and use jade in the early Neolithic Age. Many jade artifacts, some dating back 4,000 to 6,000 years, have been excavated from a number of places. The jade had been used for many purposes, not only decorative. Jade has been cherished by the Chinese as a symbol of many virtues. Its hardness suggests firmness and loyalty, and its luster projects purity and beauty.

Pearl:Fresh water pearls have been found in several species of clams that inhabit rivers in the United States. Most of these have been related to species of Unio and these are now becoming the basis of a fresh water cultured pearl industry in parts of the United States. Pearls form when an irritant becomes lodged between the mantle lobe and shell of the bivalve. The bivalve secretes layers of aragonite platelets around the irritant and this forms the pearl. If everything goes perfectly, the pearl nucleus will become separated from the shell and become completely surrounded by the mantle and the resultant growth will be a loose and spherical pearl. In some cases the nucleus does not become separated from the shell and the result is pearly blister on the inside of the shell. In cross section a pearl will appear to have concentric, smooth layers, but magnification will show these layers have an imbricate (brick wall-like) structure. These tiny plates are held together by an organic cementing agent called conchiolin. Magnification of the surface will show irregular lines that resemble topographic contours. The pearl derives its iridescence from the diffraction and interference of white light that is caused by the tiny overlapping platelets of calcium carbonate. The iridescence or orient of the pearl is a function of the numbers and thickness of these platelets. Mother of pearl or nacre forms on the inner walls or inner surfaces of the mollusk shell. Mother of pearl differs from pearl inasmuch as it is part of the mollusk shell whereas the pearl has become a separate entity from the shell.
Several factors influence the value of pearl and these include color, luster, iridescence, shape, and size.
Large, spherical pearls are the most desired and fine examples can command very high prices. Popularity of pearl colors varies from place to place and culture to culture. Cream rose' and light rose colors are almost universally liked and pure white or pure yellow pearls are almost universally disliked but the many shades in between enjoy higher or lower status in various places in the world. Oblong, tear drop or flat pearls usually command lower premiums. Semi-translucent pearls with high luster are more desired than opaque pearls with low luster. Orient or iridescence are also very important in grading pearls. Strings of pearls are graded not only on the above criteria but also how well the colors and luster of the individual pearls match in the total piece.
Pearl substitutes have been made from various resins and plastics and some are quite attractive though nearly valueless. These usually have a much lower specific gravity than the natural or cultured pearl. The gemologist's problem is usually that of determining whether a pearl or strand of pearls is natural or cultured.
A cultured pearl is made by inserting a rounded bead of clam shell between the shell and mantle of the oyster. These beads were formerly manufactured in Muscatine, Iowa, where a large pearl button industry once flourished. The pearl culturing industry was pioneered in Japan where oysters of the species Pinctada martensii serve as hosts. The bead is inserted in oysters that are about three years old. The oysters are harvested in one to two years and the pearls are removed. The oyster secretes calcium carbonate around the bead at a rate ranging from about 0.1 to 0.2 mm per year. Although pearl farming began in Japan, the industry has spread to parts of Australia and American companies are working with culturing fresh water pearls.
The only sure way to separate a natural from a cultured pearl is by X-ray. Rubbing the pearls across the teeth, by candling them, or using tests such as specific gravity can not make such separations.
Care of pearls is very important. Pearls can be easily discolored from skin oils. Properly strung pearls will have a knot between each pearl to keep them from rubbing together. The cultured pearl can be damaged by excessive wear that exposes the non-gem nucleus.

Silk: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 cloth can match. However, very few people know when or where or how it is discovered. Actually, it Silkcould date back to the 30th Century B.C when Huang Di(Yellow Emperor) came into power. There are many legends about the discovery of silk, some of the them are both romantic and mysterious.
Chinese people developed a new way by using silk to make clothes since the discovery of silk. This kind of clothes became popular soon. At that time, Chinas technology were developing very fast. In order to make more money, the sovereign emperor Wu Di of western Han Dynasty decided to develop trade with other countries.
From then on, Chinese silk, along with many Chinese inventions, were passed to Europe. Romans, especially women, were crazy for Chinese silk. Before that, Romans used to make clothes with linen cloth, animal skin and wool fabric. Now they all turned to silk. It was o symbol of wealth and high social statue for them to wear silk clothes. Because of their preferance of silk, Rome Empire was in serious financial difficulty that the emperor had to issue an order to forbid men to wear silk and also limited the amount of womens silk clothes. But this order didnt work well, for people still secretly bought silk from Persian merchants.
Thousands of years have passed since China first discovered silkworms. Nowadays, Silk, in some sense, is still some kind of luxury. Some countries are trying some new ways to get silk without silkworms. Hopefully, they can be successful. But whatever the result, nobody should forget that silk was, still is, and will always be our national treasure. Remember: What silk does for the body is what diamonds do for the hand.
Tea:The tea, favored by many people throughout the world, originates in china 4000 years ago and has become one of the three major beverages on earth. There are varied
types of tea in China, and most of the best tea grows on the mountain peak.Tea is classified according to the way it is made. Principally, there are green tea, black tea and Oolong tea.

In the past dynasties, people not only formed a special way of tea-drinking, but also developed an art form called tea-drinking. This art form comprises of many aspects. The most noticeable ones are the making of tea, the way of brewing, the drinking utensils such as tea pot. The art of making tea is called "Cha dao", which was soon accepted as one of the most important cultures that Japan learned from China.

Cloisonné: Closionne is one of the most famous arts and crafts in Beijing.It is a kind of traditional handicarft of enamelware created more than 500 years ago during the Emperor Xuan Des regin(1462-1435) in the Ming Dynasty.Later this kind of enamelware is known as Jingtai Bluein Chinese.It was so called because the color blue is the most frequently Cloisonneused color for enameling.Jingtai actually is the name of the 7th Emperor in the Ming Dynasty.Enamelware became very popular during this emperors reign(1450-1456).Cloisonne is so beautiful for its elegant molding,brilliant and dazzling color,and splendid and graceful design.There is a great variety of cloisonne products,such as vases,jars,bowls,boxes,plates,ashtrays and even some bracelets,necklaces,earrings and chopsticksall made of cloisonne.It is really a beautiful and magnificent handicraft art in Beijing.The skill and the workmanship of cloisonne processes.The skill and the workmanship of cloisonne marking have been handed down from the Ming Dynasty.

Chinese medicine: Traditional Chinese Medicine (also known as TCM, ) includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China. It is considered a Complementary or Alternative Medical system in most of the world.

TCM practices include theories, diagnosis and treatments such as herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage; often Qigong is also strongly affiliated with TCM.

TCM theories derive from many sources including the theory of Yin-yang, the Five Phases, the human body Channel system, Zang Fu organ theory, and others.

In recent years, more and more people are interested in traditional Chinese medicine. They would like to accept its treatment. They are interested in learning its knowledge and technique to treat patients and studying why it works. Traditional Chinese medicine as a subject has been added into teaching plan in different famous medical colleges. Traditional Chinese medicine clinics and schools are everywhere in the world and increased continuously every year. With the present development of traditional Chinese medicine, its integration with modern science and technology will surely enhance its contribution to human health.

The below methods are considered as part of the Chinese medicine treatment:

Chinese herbal medicine(中藥)
Acupuncture and Moxibustion (針灸)
Die-da or Tieh Ta (跌打)
Chinese food therapy (食療)
Tui na (推拿) - massage therapy
Qigong (氣功) and related breathing and meditation exercise
Physical exercise such as T'ai Chi Ch'uan (太極拳) and other Chinese martial arts
Mental health therapy such as Feng shui (風水) and Chinese astrology
Cupping such as Ba Guan (拔罐)
Specific treatment methods are grouped into these branches. Cupping and Gua Sha (刮痧) are part of Tui Na. Auriculotherapy (耳燭療法) comes under the heading of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Die-da or Tieh Ta (跌打) are practitioners who specialize in healing trauma injury such as bone fractures, sprains, and bruises. Some of these specialists may also use or recommend other disciplines of Chinese medical therapies (or Western medicine in modern times) if serious injury is involved. Such practice of bone-setting is not common in the West.

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