It is said “three treasures in Northeast China, ginseng, marten, and deer antler”. Ginseng, one of three treasures in Northeast China, is a perennial Araliaceae herb and is named as the root shape is like a human form. In Northeast China, it also is called “wooden club”.
The medicinal value of ginseng is well known. The Compendium of Materia Medica records it like this “ginseng, sweet, fills strength”. In the modern medicine, it is believed to have medicinal properties, such as relaxing tendons and activating collaterals, refreshing and increasing power, invigorating spleen and stomach, and improving body immunity. Ginseng contains a lot of useful materials for the human body such as glucoside, saponin, panaxin, panax acid, ginsenin, and vitamins A, B and C. Precisely because of this, there are many deep-processing ginseng products by people in Northeast China, like ginseng tea, ginseng candy, ginseng cigarettes, ginseng liquid, and ginseng wine, all of which are warmly welcomed tonics and drinks.
Marten is soft hair fur, durable, and gorgeous and soft, and the fur clothes made of it are elegant and the most ideal fur products. Marten is divided into two types, fur of sable and mink. The output of sable fur is extremely small and therefore expensive. It is known as “king of fur”, so it becomes a symbol of wealth, and known as “soft gold” overseas. Marten has three characteristics “warmer blew by wind, self-melting of falling snows, and not wet when raining”. Mink lives in the forest streams and rivers. Jilin has started artificial feeding since 1965, and through nearly four decades of efforts, both the scale of feeding and the quality of marten constantly improves. The mink fur products on sale in Jiangcheng market are made with sophisticated technology and are black-brown, white, sapphire color, pearl color, brown, etc.
Deer antler is one of three treasures in Northeast China and is non-ossifying hart antler. Antlers grow once a year, drop in February and re-grow in April and individual antlers may grow twice. Deer antlers are soft and tender when just coming out and wrapped with a layer of skin, on which hairs grow. The inside is cartilage, covered with capillaries. The growth period of antlers usually start from April and end in July. Antlers can grow two to four mm daily and matured within 80 days. Deer antler is divided into two kinds, antlers of spotted deer and red deer, and has specifications such as sawn-off antler with two branches, sawn-off antler three branches, chopped-off antler with two branches, and chopped-off antler with three branches. Its drug effects include invigorating kidney, replenishing vital essence, curing deficiency in QI and blood, and supplementing body for weakness and losses, and it is ideal effect-stabilizing tonic for the aged. The "Compendium of Materia Medica" written by Li Shizhen has listed deer antlers as top grade.
In Jilin City, there are many large and small deer farms distributing in each city (county). The Longtan Mountain Deer Farm is a bigger one, at the south foot of Longtan Mountain, southeast of Jilin City. The farm is near the mountain and by the river, with flourishing water and grasses and very suitable for deer reproduction, where thousands of domesticated spotted deer and red deer are fed.
Frog fat, also known as “sora”, is Chinese wood frog, originating from the Manchu language, and has a folk name “oil frog” in Northeast China. Here, what we mentioned mainly refer to female frogs with high medicinal value and food value. A female frog fat begins to grow oil after sex maturity two years later. About every 200 frog fats can generate a gram of oil. The oil, with main ingredients such as protein and other substances like amino acids, enzymes and a variety of carotenoids, in the medicine is considered to be a yin-nourishing medicine. The oil, sweet, salty, and mild-natured, can play a role in invigorating kidney and replenishing vital essence, and nourishing yin and moistening lung. It is mainly used for the treatment of body weakness, post-natal disorders, mental deficiencies, palpitation and insomnia, and endless night sweats. Frog fat, containing higher protein, can be used for dietetic invigoration. Because of great medicinal value and food value of frog fat, Jilin has started artificial feeding.
5. Jiaohe Tobacco
Jiaohe Tobacco was initially called “Piaohe Tobacco”. As early as the Qing dynasty under the regime of emperor Guangxu, the Unofficial History of Jilin recorded the planting of tobaccos in Jiaohe. The tobaccos initially was only planted at a small plot of land, about four to six mu (1 mu = 667 square meters), at Piaohe Town. Later, as tobaccos were increasingly famous, the planting area also grew larger to spread throughout most parts of Jiaohe City. Therefore, most people called it “Jiaohe Tobacco”. Jiaohe Tobacco is deep red, with meticulous tissue, abundant oil, long fragrance, small irritation, and moderate strength. The tobaccos are not only loved by the northerners, but also are renowned in the southeast coastal area and Taiwan. In the case of big air humidity, it has an advantage “odor-tainting but not fire-cutting.
6．Songhua Lake Tidal Wood Root Carving
Songhua Lake Tidal Wood Root Carving is an artwork made with tidal wood of Songhua Lake and isunique root artwork resources in Jiangcheng. Early in 1930s, the upstream of Songhua River dammed the river and built power stations so that the water level of Songhua Lake rose and the forest along the river was submerged. Through decades of erosion by the water, sunshine, and rain, the remaining parts will be the essence. Wood soaked in the water may drift with the water, may sank at the bottom of the lake, and may float on the water surface or strand on the beach to form today's Songhua Lake tidal wood. It can be said another treasure following the three treasures in Northeast China.
Compared with normal roots, Songhua Lake tidal wood, more polished by the nature and immersed by the water, is as hard as iron, in thousands of postures and rich in wisecrack. Some are like birds, some are like animals, and some are like human beings. These materials have strange shapes and different expressions. The characteristic is “70% made by the nature and 30% by artificial cut and polishing”, with natural interest.
7．Jilin Color-painted and Carved Gourd
Jilin Color-painted and Carved Gourd is an artwork carefully made through burnishing, engraving, polishing, and dyeing of local raw material, gourds. Folk artists select gourds, in line with the theme, to make colorful artworks. Among them, there are vivid flowers and lively birds, fishes, and insects, simple solemn incense burners and tripod caldrons, and long-hair girls. The gourds become vivid and moving in the hands of the artists. Jilin Color-painted and Carved Gourd is unique tourist souvenirs in Jilin City.
The bark paintings in Jiangcheng are mainly divided into two kinds: paintings of birch barks and bolete. The two kinds of paintings have own merits in both material selection and characteristics. Bark paintings are based on the main raw material, deep layer of barks of birches growing at the Changbai Mountain branch range. A piece of the bark is multi-layers, with good toughness, and is easy to sculpture and dye due to its soft and smooth texture. The bolete paintings, also known as “tree chicken paintings”, are made through working procedures such as slicing, mixing, and pasting of the main raw material, bolete (parasites of dried hardwood). The paintings include artworks carved with flying birds and running beasts, which are vivid and lifelike, and are ideal interior furnishings.
9．You Shouyi Can Art
You Shouyi, with an alternative name Yikong Jushi, was born in Jilin City in 1962, and graduated from the metal processing major of the Tianjin Institute of Technology in 1979. Since the study of zip-top can performance art in 1987, he has used more than 40,000 cans to create more than 1,000 pieces of works of art by far. The can art of You Shouyi has high ornamental value and artistic value, and is the initiated art in China. He ever held personal art exhibitions in Beijing, Jilin, etc.
10. Jilin Hand-painted Wood Carving
Jilin Hand-painted Wood Carving is hand-carved by high-level experts and technicians engaging in the carving art for a long term with the delicate wood birch, and is an emerging wood carving art initiated in 1977 in the Jilin Province arts and crafts industry. The hand-painted wood carving is mainly based on themes such as yellow birds, magpie, tigers, lions, and dogs. The wood carving, with unique craft, sophisticated materials, exotic and elegant flavor, and natural beauty, has transcendental collection and ornamental value and is deeply favored by a wide range of consumers from Europe, America, Southeast Asia, Africa and China's neighboring countries.
11. Manchu Paper-cut
Paper cutting started about from the end of Ming Dynasty. Most authors of paper-cuts are rural Manchu women, and therefore, it is called “Manchu Paper-cut”.
Manchu Paper-cut has a wide range of themes and generally is based on humans and animals and folk customs of Manchu people, with simple shapes and rough and unique style. Quick-witted and nimble-fingered Manchu women can cut all what they see, hear, and like into paper-cuts, such as characters, scenery, flowers, birds, and animals, and paste them on the doors, walls, and windows to decorate their happy lives. In Northeast China, many families have still retained the customs to paste paper-cuts (grilles) during the Chinese Spring Festival.