Pan Jia Yuan market, Beijing

Pan Jia Yuan is a huge antique / flea market in southeastern Beijing. It's a really fun place to visit.


Smaller sections

There is a lot of kitschy stuff, but also a lot of fun stuff.

Is it real?

Walking around you notice a lot of the same things wherever you go - the brass demon/angel head with 4 faces, etc. And you can be quoted various prices for them based on how you look, or the fake coins with weird unreal characters on them.

A lot of the stuff is not real and was probably produced in a factory. But even still, it's fun.

What I've gotten

Outside the gates

There are always xinjiang guys outside, with moustaches, following people and trying to sell weird animal pelts.

There are also people setting up their own home-style stalls out on the sidewalk, unwrapping a blanked to reveal a dirt-covered old relic supposedly sold to them by an illiterate farmer.


The place is awesome and fun. The bargaining can be annoying (See Bargaining in China), but just checking out the stuff is neat.

An experiment

I'd like to get 100 people, foreigners and locals, and take their picture, then send them into the market to seek out a specific item and ask how much it costs (just the first price). They would then return, and report their results. Then an analysis would be done correlating appearance, chinese ability, and attitude to the prices offered.

We could figure out what signifiers the sellers are using to set the initial price. I know they use language & dress to do it, but there must be more - their success depends on accurately guagiing how much someone is willing to spend on something.

We could also do profiles of individual sellers. It'd have to be a common item - like the 4-faced got thingie.

A Scavenger Hunt

Another idea - everyone gets 100 kuai and is sent into the market with a list of things : something more than 100 years old, something red, something made of wood, something large, etc. They spend the 100 kuai, get their items, then meet up with the group 2 hours later. Outside, everyone figures out how many points they got.