The China pavilion, like some of the other eastern pavilions, is a mixture of the sombre and colourful. The entrance is through a red gate that reflects the stark simplicity of many of the old buildings in Beijing. A large white dragon sits guarding the entrance but inside the pavilion is vibrant and colourful.
The Chinese Pavilion reflects a culture that is an amazing combination of very ancient and very modern. On one hand there are stalls representing centuries old handicrafts like the famed Ming Dynasty pottery, and on the other there are stalls selling glow rings, Bermuda shorts, fancy wristwatches and trendy electronic gadgets.
One of the most popular stalls is the one selling fine Chinese porcelain tea-sets and other exquisitely designed decorative items and crystal ware. The Chinese lamps in brilliant colours have been selling well.
Replicas of the world famous, blue and white Ming porcelain vases are on display. These come in many different sizes and are hugely popular, especially with European antique collectors. Interestingly there are two different stalls, one selling the cheaper version of these potteries and the other selling the more exclusive items.
Some of the unique handmade pots cost as much as Dh10,000. Zhouxu, one stall owner said that these were rare pieces, created using the same technique that was used by artisans a thousand years ago. "These are collectors' items and it takes up to one year to create 10 perfect pieces of pottery," he said.
Zhouxu explained that it took a lot of time and energy to create a perfect vase because many pieces, with defects had to be discarded before a perfect piece could be created. Another stall exhibiting a very unique Chinese product is the painting made inside a tiny bottle. These decorative bottles with pictures of exotic figures painted on the inside, cost between Dh300 and Dh400.
The cheaper versions of the Ming pottery on display in another stall are equally beautiful and have been attracting a lot of visitors. The vases come in either blue and while or bright yellow. The prices range from Dh5 to Dh50.
The Chinese Medical Herbs stall has been getting a string of visitors. A packet of tea made of these herbs sells for between Dh25 and Dh50. The packets claim to cure all kinds of ailments like insomnia, blood pressure, body ache, asthma, obesity and even depression. Chengheng, the owner of the stall said that people have tried these cures and have been coming back for more.
The stalls attracting large numbers of women customers are those selling silk and brocade dress material and Chinese style kimonos, known as chipo.