The modern city of Beijing has changed so much since 1987 when bicycles were the predominate form of travel. New freeways, flyovers, and ring roads form a woven network over the city tieing the vast area together. Modern architecture predominates, but there are still areas of hutongs with courtyard houses preserving the style we all love of old China. In fact this trip we chose to stay in one of the small courtyard hotels in the hutong lanes. We felt we were part of a real neighbourhood, seeing everyday life go on. Also preserved are parks and lakes which form an important part of life with morning activities of dance, excercise, tai chi and martial arts being practiced with enthusiasm.


Artist's districts are full of galleries, studios, cafes and designer boutiques. Textiles are fashioned into avant gard creations, unlike the styles of the 80's.


In one of the big hotel windows, I saw this cheongsam and jacket, reminiscent of a previous time, however still considered high fashion. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the metal linking of porcelain fragments - an intersting take on the subject. I couldn't see the artist's title, which perhaps could have given a clue to the concept.



Crocheted flowers in a vase made by wrapping fibre


Silk and embroidered version of the cheongsam.

rag hats

Hats in a boutique crocheted with rags

draw looms

We did see the drawlooms during the 1987 trip, but in a museum in Beijing. They were working exhibits with three looms in a row having draw boys sitting on top to control the change of shed to create the design,


This ancient book drawing
shows the full extent
of the loom and persons