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 calls –

“Huan pen er, ai. Huan wan erh, ai.”
“Exchange basins-ai. Exchange bowls-ai.”

At New Years every family needs extra rice bowls, plates or wash basins. So this peddler carries a stock of these made of low grade china which he trades for old clothing and old or broken articles of all kinds.

The plates, bowls and basins are fastened on two baskets hung from the end of a bamboo stick “t’iao tzu” in a most decorative manner. Each article can be easily untied without dropping others out and the peddler’s two bundles swung one on each end of the pole look like two large beehives.

This peddler will sell for money but prefers to trade his goods for old clothing, shoes, etc., as noted above.