Back to blog index

My New Birdcage

Chinese birdcages are so beautiful. Each one is like a tiny palace, intricately constructed by hand. I’ve always wanted one, so I grabbed the chance today to visit the Bird and Flower Market on Wanhangdu Lu. I don’t know why, but in Shanghai there are no Bird Markets selling only birds, and no Flower Markets selling only flowers. Only Bird and Flower Markets. Another Chinese puzzle.

The birdcage shops are a wonderland for bird-lovers – beautifully carved perches, hand painted porcelain seed and water bowls and the cages – shaped like pagodas, lanterns or square, each one has exquisite details. Mine has little hand-carved birds in a pale-coloured wood decorating it.

Of course, they are tiny palaces, but tiny prisons too. Every time I’m out walking and hear beautiful birdsong, I look up to see a nightingale, an oriole or a jackdaw hopping around in a cramped cage. So rest assured, I have no intention of having a real bird in my cage. I just love it because it’s so beautifully made. 

Crocodile Wars

OK, so everyone knows the French sportswear brand Lacoste, right? Those ice-cream coloured polo-shirts? 
Chinese people love Lacoste. Like really love it, to the point of obsession. It’s quite common to see couples in matching pink polos, cute little green crocodile on the pocket, just hanging around outside the shop in order to absorb the cool European vibe.

Lacoste have obviously been too successful though, and have managed to spawn an entire industry of (apparently) legal rip-offs. So now for every Lacoste store, there are approximately fifty rip-off merchants selling much the same stuff, only cheaper. Copyright infringement? Are you kidding? This is CHINA. 

Here’s a tour of the ‘competitors’

Firstly, we have ‘Crocodile’. Not very imaginative, but probably the top of the bunch, and ‘SINCE 1982’ lends an air of credibility. If it’s true that is.

Secondly, my personal favourite, Clio Coddle. 
Say it fast. Faster. Now with a Chinese accent. Geddit?

Things must be on the up and up for these guys, because they just opened this very fancy branch in Beijing.
Lastly for the fake crocodile shops with totally random names. These are at the low end.

The NuomanDiEYu ‘France Crocodilian Shirt Group Limited’ wins hands down for the most obscure, apparently meaningless and totally unconvincing name, with random use of capitals. But you know what? They sell a truckload of polo shirts.