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.


The flower peddler appears on the streets in the spring and it is in this season that he does the largest business, though he sells flowers on a smaller scale throughout the year. He has no special cry but calls out whatever kind of flowers he has for sale.

This peddler has two large trays on which he places his flowers and plants. Some of these are in small clay pots and others have their roots bound up in lumps of damp clay. In buying flowers one must be exact in telling the peddlers how many are wanted as otherwise they will crowd as many as possible in the customer’s plot of ground in order to sell more plants.