On the way out of the Puyou Temple complex, we walk through the Puning Street market, a modern day re-creation of a Qing style cultural and market place. The Puning and Puyou Temples were built during the Qing Dynasty and the shop assistants are all dressed up in traditional period costumes to add atmosphere to the place. Although there are many shops selling cheap handicrafts and souvenirs, the market is nevertheless very colourful.
The Puning Street market is a kaleidoscope of colours and is great for photography, except for the fact that the young women dressed in their Qing costumes do not like being photographed. When they see a camera pointed in their direction, they quickly dart into the shops or side streets.
It’s a shame as they are supposed to add to the atmosphere of the Qing market and entice visitors to shop. The little bit of blurb at the entrance to the street says that the attendants “will provide first-class service by Qing etiquette”, but one gets the impression that these young attendants are not on any mission to sell.
For those looking to pick up little bits of souvenirs, there’s plenty to look at here:
The Chinese traditional decorative knots are very popular with the locals themselves. This decorative handicraft began as a folk art in the Tang and Song dynasties and became very popular during the Ming dynasty. These days you’ll find ornaments, imitation antique coins and all kinds of pendants attached to them.
Chinese opera masks often depict the traits and characteristics of the role that the wearer is playing. If you’re buying one of these masks, take note of the colours as they bear meaning as well. For instance, the red colour on masks is indicative of a positive character and can also mean prosperity, loyalty, courage, etc. Black is a neutral colour indicating impartiality and integrity. Green tells the audience that the character is violent and yellow depicts cruelty.
Gaynor and Jane buying a paper fan each.
When walking down the main street, don’t forget to look into the side courtyards as there are shops there as well. You can’t miss them as they’re decorated with very colourful prayer flags.
The Puning Street Qing market is full of souvenirs that I didn’t need and I leave empty-handed. But for those who must shop, it is an entertaining bit of retail therapy.
See more photos of the Puning Street Qing market Here.