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 carries a “yuan lung” which is about a foot high. It is studded with brass headed nails and looks very festive. His characteristic sound is made with a gong about eight inches in diameter and made from thicker metal than usually found in gongs.

He sells cakes made into almost any design desired by the customer such as figures, animals, fruits, etc. The material used is a thick paste made from mashed peas and sugar. This he models as desired, the figure being hollow. Inside he puts a little sugar as an extra attraction. Needless to say his customers are all children, generally under fifteen years of age.