With a long history of culture and handicraft, Qinghai boasts a wide variety of local arts and crafts. Among the famous products with unique Qinghai characteristics are carpets, Kunlun jade, flossy art pictures, fiber tapestries, clay pottery, pottery jade, black pottery, fur toys, shorn sheepskin, ornamental objects of yak and sheep’s craniums, Tibetan painted masks, embroidery of ethnic minorities, shadow puppet figures, barbola thangka, and Anchong Tibetan knives.
Kunlun jade was used to decorate the gold medals fro Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Kunlun jade is produced close to the Yunu Peak over 4,200 meters above sea level, and the Jade Pool for the Queen Mother of the West at the southern foot of the Kunlun Mountains in Golmud. In terms of nature, color and quality, Kunlun jade is almost identical to Xinjiang Hetian jade, which is originated at the northern foot of the Kunlun Mountains. This kind of semi-transparent jade bears veins like wisps of clouds. Its hardness is between 6.2 and 7.5, its compactness is between 2.7 and 3.1, the density is 2.9, and the content of tremolite rock is above 93 percent. Based on the colors, Kunlun jade is classified into white jade, greenish-white jade, green jade, smoky-gray jade, emerald green jade and fawn jade.
Flossy Art Pictures
Sheep fleece produced in Qinghai is soft, tenuous, easy to comb and mix and flexible. It can be processed into sheets, yarn and balls. With flowery colors, distinct gradation and a strong 3D sense, it can be used to make decorative pictures that create hazy views, clear textures and bright colors like beautiful and graceful tapestries.
Ornamental Objects Made of Yak and Sheep Skulls
Made from the big and special-shaped skulls of yaks and Tibetan sheep that live only on the snow-capped mountains of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, these ornamental objects bear unique local features. A fine ornamental yak skull features sharp, symmetric horns, and a streamlined shape. It represents the noble spirit and broad mind of people living in West China. A fine ornamental sheep skull demonstrates the mild temperament and hospitality of the local people. Its spiral horns produce a sense of rhythm and lingering charms.
Tibetan knife, one of the typical ethnic handcrafts from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, is made of metals and many other complementary materials. It is a multi-functional tool. Farmers and herdsmen of Tibetan ethnic group use it as a weapon for self-defense and safeguarding livestock, slaughtering yaks and sheep, eating meat, or just as an ornamental object. The knife gives people a deep impression on the strong, brave and bold characters of the Tibetans.
Embroidery of Tu Ethnic Group
The embroidery of Tu ethnic people is one of the most unique souvenirs for visitors to Qinghai. This kind of embroidery has its own style, and is closely related to local religion, culture, customs, and local Tu people’s life. The embroidered pieces come in the forms of collars, sleeves, pockets, aprons, girdles, socks, shoes, pillows, wallets, tobacco bags, sewing kits and sachets, and religious articles such as Buddha images and lamas’ headgears and articles for daily use. Tu ethnic minority girls begin to learn embroidery at eight or nine years old, and they take pride of practicing it till their marriage and through their lives. They use various techniques in their embroidery work, which include coiled embroidery, pulling embroidery and hanging embroidery.
These silver articles are divided into four categories: articles for daily use, jewelry, apparel ornaments and religious vessels. The techniques for making them include high relief, bass relief, wire embedding, pierced work and inlay.