What to buy
Shu Brocade and Embroidery
The Chinese character Shu means silkworm breeding and mulberry growing. As early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Shu brocade was exported overseas to Japan and as far as Persia and in the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280). Featuring various colors and techniques for extracting colors from plants, Shu Brocade was a financial resource for the military. Several hundred designs are used by various minority groups in southwest China to create brocade that is silk-woven, durable but has a soft feel.
Over time, Shu Embroidery has enjoyed a reputation for superb craftsmanship, with a unique technique and elegant colors, the finished products look like Chinese ink and wash paintings embroidered on satins. One masterpiece in the Great Hall of the People is called the Cottonrose Hibiscus and the Carp. Functional as well as artistic, Shu embroidery appears on a range of personal items, including quilts covers, pillow cases, clothes, and shoes.
Chengdu lacquerware is renowned for its special gloss and ability to resist corrosion and aging. When the Mawangdui Han Dynasty Tombs were uncovered in 1972, a large number of exquisite Chengdu lacquerware pieces were discovered. Visitors are astonished that their brilliant appearance endured for more than 2,000 years. However, this durability is not accidental. Originally using wood as roughcast base, with addition of plastic, bamboo and paper later, the complicated technique of lacquer-ware making has remained nearly unchanged to this day. No lacquerware piece is completed until 72 procedures have been followed, not to mention the fact that the roughcast must have been in storage for 30-40 years before lacquering begins.
Silver Inlaid Products and Bamboo Products
Chengdu Silver Inlaid products are made with silver threads no thicker than 3mm (0.1 inch) inlaid on silver background. As a traditional region for silver inlaid technology, Chengdu shares its reputation with Beijing, which is famous for the applied weaving technique. Delicately shaped, the silver inlaid products appear on screens, tea wares and vases.
This amazing technique can be seen in various bamboo products, such as bamboo sticks, baskets and fans. With the warm climate and fertile lands stimulating the growth of bamboo, Chengdu bamboo products are not only household necessities but also decorations.
Chinese alcohol, tea and food delicacies are great to try. Top-ranking alcohol brands include Wuliangye, Luzhou Lao Jiao, Quanxing Da Qu and Jiannanchun. Jasmine tea, Maofeng tea, hot pickled mustard tuber, mix-flavored horse bean, Dengying (shadow) dried beef (so thinly cut that light can shine through it), Liu Yang Gou dried beef, and others are great gifts for friends back at home.
Where to buy
The city’s shopping centers converge at Chunxi Road, Zongfu Road and Luomashi Area. Here you can shop for an impressive range of wares, such as souvenirs, street stall items to supermarket and department stores goods.
Shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets and especially small stands are widely scattered in the areas around Chunxi Road. Visiting Chengdu without stopping by Chunxi Road is like going to Paris without visiting Champs Elysees, or visiting New York without going by 5th Avenue. With a history of more than 70 years, Chunxi Road boasts the most typical and prosperous commercial pedestrian street in the city. Next to Chunxi Road is Yanshikou commercial circle where spots such as People’s Department Store, the Chengdu Department Emporium, and the Renhe Spring Department Store are all concentrated.
Local food specialties can be found at the Hongqi Department Store on Shudu Avenue. Visitors can buy Shu brocade, bamboo-woven crafts, preserved ham and alcoholic beverages such as Jiannanchun and Quanxing Da Qu, at a variety of stores, including:
Shu Brocade Factory
Sichuan Antiques Shop
Bamboo-weaving Arts and Crafts Factory
Sichuan Arts and Crafts Store
Lacquer wares Factory
Hehuachi (Lotus Pool) Distribution Center