People of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang of all ages love to wear skullcaps. The Uygurs call skullcaps “Tuoba” and have the largest variety of them. A skullcap is usually quadric-cornered and embroidered with various patterns. The more luxury ones are decorated with gold, silver and precious stones. People of different ages wear skullcaps with different patterns.
Riding boots are favored by people of the ethnic groups of Kazakh, Kirgiz and Mongolian. Various patterns of golden and silvery metals are inlaid on the vamp and leg of the boots. They depict butterflies, birds, plum blossoms or geometric figures. The riding boots are beautiful and sturdy.
The Uygurs call it “Bota”. They wear it along with a long jacket. Most of the waist scarves are black, brown or blue. They are made of cotton, silk or brocade and have decorative patterns either embroidered or printed on them. Those worn by young people are in bright colors and those worn by middle-aged or old people are in less elegant colors.
Xinjiang is a big producer of jade. Jade from Hotan is the best. The Hotan jade comes in various colors, such as white, black, green, greenish white and creamy white. The Hotan jade has an even luster and pure colors. Objects carved out of Hotan jade are of a high value for display and collection.
In the Uygur language, “aidelais” means “tie-dyed silk” which is a traditional dyeing technique in China. The decorative patterns in bright colors look like water ripples or wisps of clouds. Uygur women love to make clothes with this fabric.
Four kinds of small knives are famous in Xinjiang: Yengisar knife, Ili Shamshak clasp knife, Yanzhi Chen knife and Shache Maymayt clasp knife. The Yengisar knife is the most popular, which is exquisitely crafted, plain in appearance and practical. The sharp knife is used to cut meat and peel fruit.
People of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang are warm-hearted and carefree. They love singing and dancing. Music is an indispensable part of their lives. They have music and musical instruments particular to their own. Their musical instruments are now among the most favored souvenirs to visitors.
Carpets of high-quality wool from Xinjiang are durable and practical. Decorated with designs displaying characteristics of local ethnic minorities, they are used as ornamental articles, mattresses or cushions. Those from Hotan are the most famous.
People of Kirgiz ethnic group have a unique kind of tapestry to decorate their homes. A piece of their tapestry is usually three meters long and one meter high. The border of a piece of red velveteen is lined with a lace of black velveteen and silk tassels. Most of the embroidered patterns on the tapestry are related to natural things.
Whole-Wool Gabardine from Shihezi
The wool from the sheep of an excellent breed developed by the Ziniquan Stud Sheep Farm is fine, soft and purely white. It can match the wool from Australia in regards of length, fineness and strength. Gabardine woven with this kind of wool does not wrinkle or warp; its luster is natural; and it is moisture absorbent and acid resistant. The fabric is an excellent material for making clothes.
Precious Stone Pictures
The basic materials for making this kind of pictures are precious stones from the Altai Mountains. Their main themes are landscapes, human portraits and animals associated with the birth year of a person. Their price goes from several dozen yuan to several thousand yuan. Precious stone pictures are sold by all jewelry stores in Altai Prefecture.
Stone Human Figurines from Grassland
These statuettes are carved out of cobbles from the Altai Mountains, easy to be carried around for their small size. They tell something about the history and culture in Altai Prefecture. They can be bought at Hehui Root Art Store on Wenhua Road in Altai City.
Rare Stones and Tree-Root Carvings
The raw material for these articles comes from the Altai Mountains and the Ertix River. The ornamental objects are of a high value of collection. They are sold in some jewelry and handicrafts stores in Altai City, Fuyun County and Burqin County.
Traditional Red Brass Utensils
Red brass utensils are one of the major items of handicrafts of the Uygur people. They can be found in every country market all over Xinjiang. They mainly come in the forms of kettle, pot, bowl and plate. Their production requires high skills. Their form is beautiful and simple, displaying a strong style of the Uygur people.
This plant grows all over Xinjiang. Most of it is found in Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture. The fruit of this plant there is big, fleshy, small-seeded and shiny red. It is effective for relieving internal heat, ameliorating dryness of the lungs and improving eyesight. It is used to cure coughing, weak liver and inflamed eyes.
Snow lotus grows only in the Tianshan Mountians, Altai Mountains, Kulun Mountains and the Pamirs within the boundaries of Xinjiang. The largest number of this plant is found in the Tianshan Mountains. It grows usually above the snow line on the slopes and rock crevices in the mountains 2,600 to 4,000 meters above sea level. It takes five years for this herbaceous flower to bloom from the time of sprouting. It has a very high medicinal value.
Xinjiang produces a large amount of tasty fruits. Among the best known kinds are grapes from Turpan and melons from Hami.