THE figure sculpture depicts a woman sitting still on hard-paste porcelain with enamels featuring old Shanghai fashion. The woman, wearing floral cheongsam and a retro hairstyle, bows her head in an elegant gesture.
The porcelain figure is made in Jingdezhen, the best-known center with the highest-quality porcelain in China. It is famous internationally for being “as thin as paper, as white as jade, as bright as a mirror, and as sound as a bell.”
This figure sculpture is not only an artifact but also a package of yellow rice wine sold at the souvenir shop of the Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Lujiazui area along with many other gifts featuring traditional or modern Shanghai characteristics.
Lujiazui, in Pudong New Area, is the center of trade and finance in Shanghai. It bustles with traders, bankers and other white-collar workers. Among the skyscrapers, Lujiazui shopping malls are basically filled with luxurious brands and fancy boutiques.
Experiencing the modern city
Lujiazui is also one of the best spots to experience modern Shanghai and enjoy the city’s dazzling skyline from atop one of its iconic buildings.
And now for visitors seeking souvenirs while touring this new area there are more choices, and not all formulaic bric-a-brac or costly goods.
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower stands by the bank of the Huangpu River, across from the Bund. In addition to providing a bird’s-eye view of the Bund, the tower’s gift shop has introduced many traditional Shanghai brands.
Opening an iron box with four colorful birds on its cover, one finds white cream underneath silver platinum paper. The face cream with a mellow fragrance is unforgettable to many old Shanghai locals. In the early 1970s and ‘80s, this cream by Shanghai Pehchaolin Daily Cosmetic Company was a must-have skincare product in almost every family.
And now the first-born Chinese cosmetic brand has its first boutique store in the Oriental Pearl TV Tower with all lines of its product from moisturizing lotion to its iconic cream.
In 1917, then 14-year-old Gu Zhiming came to downtown Shanghai from a small town. He worked menial jobs in grocery stores, teahouses and factories before he got his first official job as a sales consultant of cosmetics in a trendy shopping mall in Shanghai, learning how to market cosmetics.
He had a dream to establish his own cosmetics company, and 20 years later — at age 34 — he founded Pehchaolin. At first he had only one technician and three workers. But the company became a huge success.
Romantic post office
From making blusher to inventing the iconic cream to deep moisturize the skin in Shanghai’s cold winters, he became a legend. During the 1940s, people from all over China and even Southeast Asia — from movie stars to social celebrities — were using this brand for skin care.
In 2013, when Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, visited Tanzania, she brought Pehchaolin products as gifts.
Also in the gift shops of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, people can find chocolate with a liquor filling wrapped in a box with an old Shanghai calendar print. Another gift is red wine in a gift box embossed with the tower’s architecture.
Another noted Lujiazui high-rise is the Jin Mao Tower, an elegant, postmodern building reminiscent of traditional Chinese architecture such as a tiered pagoda, gently stepping back to create a rhythmic pattern as it rises.
On its 88th floor observation deck, there is a romantic post office.
Here tourists can purchase love-themed postcards and souvenirs and stamp a special postmark with a Jin Mao Tower feature on the cards. It is probably the highest post office in the world.
A gold-tone brass keychain is provided in the Jin Mao Tower gift shop. The keychain is a miniature of a goat celebrating the coming lunar Year of the Sheep, using a gold tone to symbolize prosperity.
One of the gift shop’s best-selling products is a wristwatch specially designed for this building. The band is made with a lustrous pearl wrap-around bracelet, and on its rectangular face embellished with crystals is a delicate Jin Mao Tower logo in gold tone.
The 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center also offers good choices of gifts. Swarovski’s signature crystal pen has its special edition for this tower with the print of the building’s architecture on the body of the pen. The ballpoint pen has 200 crystals on its body, and the pen can be split in the middle, with the other side used as a USB flash drive.
Visitors can also find bottle openers in the shape of the Shanghai World Financial Center, also decorated with Swarovski crystal. The building, in fact, is often referred to as the “bottle opener.”