The Vanishing Chinese Traditional Handicrafts

Many say the best way to get to know a folk culture is through discovering its traditional handicrafts – I have no doubt. However, the folk handicrafts in China now are facing a destiny of vanishing, after so many twists and turns. Before these thousand-year-old cultural heritages die off and disappear from Chinese history, we should definitely make an effort to treasure and preserve them and push the craftsmanship to evolve with time.  

Recommended classic China tours

1. Steelyard (杆秤)

In the ancient times, there was not electronic scale, and steelyard was an essential appliance for daily deal. It is delicately made, and weighs the goods with its different scales. 

The old standard weigh


2. Dough figures (捏面人)

Dough, wiper, bamboo stick, comb and scissors are essential tools for making dough figures. With a pair of light hands, a craftsman creates children a humble fairyland. Know more Chinese traditional toys for kids

Chinese folk culture

Chinese folk handicraft

3. Sugar figurines (糖画)

Kids’ favorite snack, sugar figurine is a magic handicraft art. Maltose is fully melted and made into lifelike cute animals, such as rabbit, dragon, monkey…

China street snacks

Traditional handicraft

4. Chinese popcorn (爆米花)

Popcorn machine recalls up the childhood of China's post-1980 generation. The mobile vendor walked through the streets and brought kids pure white popcorn.

China Popcorn machine

Traditional Chinese snacks

5. Wheat straw knitting craft (麦秸编织工艺)

Wheat straw knitting craft has a long history in Southeast China, and is endowed with experience and creativity. With the wheat straw, craftsmen make sunhat, straw fan, woven handbag, dustpan and other agricultural utensils. 

Chinese knitting art 

Chinese knitting ware

6. Handmade cloth shoes (纳鞋匠)

First of all, the shoe maker cuts out the pattern, then he/she uses the needle to weave through the sole and the upper with a thick rope fixing them together. Finally, tap the shoe with a hammer to build a perfect modeling. 

China handmade cloth shoes

 Chinese Traditional Handicrafts

7. Tile carving (砖雕工艺)

Tile carving is an old, complicated handicraft art in China. Drill, plane and saw make the craftsman a real master, and help them create numerous tile masterpieces, showcased in the sophisticated architectural ornaments.

China carving art

China tile carving craftsman

8. Silversmith (老银匠)

Silver has been part of Chinese ornamental folk culture for more than 4,000 years since the Warring States Period (770-256 BC). Chinese silversmith used special technique of controlling the fire to make silverware.

China silversmith  China silver ornament

9. Chinese landscape painting mounting (国画装裱)

Landscape painting is one of the three quintessence of Chinese culture, and can only fully display its charm when mounted elaborately and elegantly. 

The Vanishing Chinese Traditional Handicrafts

China mounting tools

10. Wood carving (木雕)

A great wood carving artisan must master the perfect sculpture skills, and is able to turn a plain wood into a masterpiece of artistic, aesthetic value.

China wood carving art

China wood carving artwork

11. Paper-cut (剪纸)

Generally, ladies are better at paper-cuts. With their clever hands and a pair of scissors, beautiful flowers and lovely animals are born. 

China folk art

China paper-cut artwork

12. Chinese chop (印章)

It is to make you a unique and personalized Chinese handmade seal. The basic tools include stone, brush, grinding papers, Chinese art paper, engraving knife, etc. 

China seal maker

Handmade china chop

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