Phenomenology is the new black

Shop till you drop!

Panjiayuan Markets also known as the Dirt Market or the Sunday markets – it has everything from Cultural Revolution stuff by the truckload – Mao’s little red book in its thousands – calligraphy, Buddha heads and Chinese Tigers to ceramics and Tibetan carpets. It apparently boasts some 50,000 visitors a day hoping for a treasure – bearing in mind that if the stall keeper quotes some 600 yuan you start at around 100 -150 and a lot of passing the calculator follows – in fact walk away for a bit come back and that bargain may finally be yours –

image of Panjiayuan market

Panjiayuan Market


These are legendary – who knows for how long but for Beijingers this is a must, maybe once a month for some serious full-on face to face battles to try to acquire that little something that will make your day!

This is an area south of Jinsong subway and it rattles with voices, people in their hundreds, stalls in the thousands and literally volumes of objects that reappear in stall after stall – the idea is to get a bargain – I mean if you are looking for antiques – there ain’t any – contrary to their mantra of ‘”lady it old!”  hmmmm  yes so am I but  puuleese!!!   Forgive me but you may be mistaken – all this bargaining is done in the most interesting way and hopefully you have smiles and some laughter – move swiftly on from ones that are to the contrary –

I began my browsing at 9am and with my fellow artists we called it quits at around 4.30pm – exhausted, hungry and in need of a trolley for the goodies!! The stalls are stacked against each others like a pack of dominoes and each cries out his/her wares and how a agood deal will happen in this stall – one is constantly doing the sums from Yuan to Australian dollar – surely that is a bargain – or is it the case that us foreigners will be ripped off no matter what – after a while you get wiser but realistically if you love it – buy it!


image of stalls

Panjiayuan market

Thank goodness for a delightful air-conditioned cafe that housed us for morning tea, lunch and final ice-creams and they kindly stored goods so the shopping could continue.

For the artist there are brushes of all types, thousands of them, paper, rice paper, paints etc… dresses, of all kinds in their millions, bags, pretendy antiques, jade to fill a football stadium, a sea of bangles, jewellery by the truckload and so it goes on..stuff you didn’t think you needed and more. I found a wonderful b/w photo (heaps of copies) of a cultural revolution ballerina, very amusing – would have loved the original and an amusing bronze cow padlock – well you never know when you might need one!! The girls were also stacked with clothes, glass boxes, brushes, bags and so it goes on…..

image of jade bangles

jade bangles


image of brushes

brushes at Panjiayuan market


image of stall keepers

stall keepers Panjiayuan market


image of glass beads



image of Panjiayuan market



image of bags


Note that invaluable calculator – she types – you  type – she grimaces – she types again and so it goes on till – hey! lady you win!

Well you think you do !

image of seals

artist seals


They are also called artist stamps – a little like the Egyptian cartouche – a stamp that you would find at the bottom of an artwork or scroll – the artists’ initials or name in Chinese script – quite beautiful and unique


image of stamp in clamp

the stone stamp in the clamp

the chinese script signifies the owners’ name

image of stalls

market stalls


all types of bone – any old bone!!


image of sleeping stall keeper

sleeping stall keeper

She was one of many who because of the early start or the hot temperatures just passed out for nap – she slumbered as we checked out the shop and stayed unaware of us and continued sleeping.

If you are visiting Beijing this is a wonderful way to pass a Sunday and you just never know what you might find but half the fun is looking and then seeing if you can get the price down as low as possible – laughter?    Lots!!

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  1. Posted August 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I guess one absolutely NEEDED to buy half a dozen new Hermes bags to accommodate all this loot then, Sonia?

  2. Warren Maynard
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Now that sounds like a market. looks like an amazing market. I would love to have seen it first hand.

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