Calls and sounds of the Peking street peddlers

Paintings of street sellers and descriptions of their cries and jingles from Samuel Victor Constant's Calls, Sounds and Merchandise of the Peking Street Peddlers, written in 1936 as a master's thesis at the College of Chinese Studies.


This peddler pushes a one wheeled wheelbarrow on which he has tied all sizes of bowls and basins from flower pots to laundry tubs or bath tubs about four feet in diameter. These are made from yellow earth on tje kilns of the village of Liao Li T’un which is six li (two miles) east of the Ch’i Hua Men or Ch’ao Yang Men, the main east gate of Peking.

The characteristic sound of this peddler is made by striking one of his clay vessels with a small long handled wooden hammer. The prospective purchaser will also hit the vessel he is considering buying. If it has a good clear sound, it has been properly baked and should last a long time. One washtub of this kind has been used by a certain Peking family for over sixty years!