Xi’an is abundant in local products. The Qin embroideries, lacquer wares, leather silhouettes, paper cuts, jade carvings, Replicas of Tang tricolor pottery and farmers’ paintings from Huxian County are much favored tourist souvenirs. Stores are found everywhere, making shopping very convenient.
The Qin embroidery, a long established art form from Shaanxi Province, was developed by local embroiders on the basis of traditional Chinese embroidery techniques. The Qin embroidery is well known for its elegant and neat needlework, finely stitched patterns, proper perspective, a riot of colors and a good effect of tone.
Leather silhouettes (also known as shadow puppets) are made of the hide of cattle, sheep and donkey. The leather is first pressed and polished to become transparent and then carved into various characters and painted. The Guanzhong leather silhouette show appeared in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.). The ancient form of shadow puppetry has inherited the traditional techniques of Han stone frescoes and assimilated the techniques of the painting style of the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279). Local artisans display the characters’ facial features, status, clothes and personalities through precise and meticulous carving. The particular folk art is attractive to tourists for its life-like characters and a strong local and ethnic flavor. The most popular pieces in its repertoire are “Princess Wencheng Enters Tibet” and “Imperial Concubine Yang”.
Xi’an produces a wide variety of paper-cuts. Some of them look exquisite and delicate; some look bold and unsophisticated; and some have exaggerated forms. All of them have rich connotations and profound meanings and are full of life interest and flavor. “Eight Immortals Cross the Sea” and the “Rat Marries off His Daughter” created by the local folk artists have been highly acclaimed by Chinese and foreign tourist.
Xi’an is one of the birthplaces of jade carving in China. This handicraft in Xi’an can be traced back to the New Stone Age 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. Local jade carvers have carried forward and developed this traditional art. With meticulously selected Lantian jade, Shenmu agate and high-quality jade from other parts of China and the world, they have created a great variety of fine jade articles, which fall into five categories, i.e., human figures, flowers, birds and animals, vases and ornaments. All of the jade products are beautifully shaped, exquisite, crystal-clear and bright. The jade works of “Heavenly King”, “Bodhisattva”, lions, bracelets, bowls and drinking vessels are much loved by tourist.