There are many differences between China and the US. One is that if you go to China as a part of a tour group you will be REQUIRED to visit several factories as part of your tour. They are not factories in our sense of the word however; I don't think many Westerners get to see those. Usually it was just a large room with a demonstration by the artisans and then a showroom where they wanted you to spend LOTS of money! Oh and I can't forget the "special dining room" just for the tourists on the upper floor of each. I do have to admit that they were actually quite interesting and I had wished that I had more money to spend - especially at the rug factory.
So here are some of the "factories" we toured...
The Pearl Factory
|An open oyster showing how the pearls are "seeded" inside each shell|
|This is a screen made out of pearls - Beautiful!!|
It was fun to see the demonstration on pearl seeding and
how to determine genuine pearls from fakes.
The Jade Museum
|A history of Jade in China|
|A sculpture carved out of Jade - Did you know Jade consisted of so many different colors?|
|Carving the Jade by hand. Very few people still know how to do this.|
Making Cloisonné is a painstaking, time consuming process.
First they start with a copper vase. One person draws the pattern onto the vase.
Another then attaches thin copper strips following the pattern drawn on the piece.
Enamel is then put into each space. This is done by several different artists.
The enamel is then fired. And another person polishes the piece and
it is finished by gilding. One piece can take weeks to years to complete
depending on the size and intricacy of the pattern.
|On the left you can see the artists working at their stations - |
each one adding a different step to the process
The Rug Factory
|Some of the rugs were made with wool and some with silk. The one on the left was the silk rug I wanted.|
But considering it cost almost as much as our house did - it stayed in China. But it was SO soft and pretty!!
|The Wool display|
The Silk Factory
|Making silk thread. Eight cocoons are unraveled and wound |
together to make a single silk thread
|The cocoons are soaked in water to soften before being unwound|
|The pupa are removed from each cocoon and will be fried and eaten.|
No - I didn't try any.