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 is called by his Chinese name for lack of a better descriptive title. He carries a “t’iao tzu” and beats with a stick on half a gourd which has been hollowed out to hold water. The Chinese use them as water dippers.

The wares sold by this peddler are so numerous that it is hard to find a name for him. He sells all the various articles found at the fairs and so much used by the people that they never buy enough at one time and always have to replenish their supply. Among the articles are feather dusters, brooms of all kinds, hollow gourds, dust pans, wire strainers, brushes, wash boards and other small articles made of bamboo and wood.

On one end of his “t’iao tzu” he has a rack for dusters, brushes, etc. and on the other a tray where the various smaller articles are displayed. This type of peddler carries on business all the year round and naturally does more business when there are no temple fairs in progress where people can buy the wares which he has for sale.