My husband and I love antiques. We’ve been collecting since we first met. One of our first purchases was an antique rocking horse which we named Simon. He has rolled around the country from where we acquired him – Orlando, Florida- to Miami, Michigan, Arkansas and Ohio. He did not make the trip to China, rather he’s resting in climate controlled comfort in Cincinnati with my antique piano, bookcase, tables, chaise lounge…you get the picture. We like old stuff.
There are lots of places to buy antiques here. We’ve just skimmed the surface by going to Hu & Hu where we found lovingly restored pieces at good prices. Dongtai Road is a good place to find “fake” antiques. We want to go to Green Antiques, but it’s quite far and our driver can’t figure out why we would want to go there to see old stuff. (They’ve got 10,000 square feet of old stuff. And a curator. How cool is that?) He just does not get it. Which is why I was inspired to write this post. Why do we (some of us) like old stuff and WHY do most of the Chinese hate it?
The Chinese culture no longer reveres old items. History is not in”things” rather, it is held in stories and traditions. The young Chinese love….IKEA. It’s new, shiny and reeks of Western lifestyle. (And particle board.) It’s also a great place to nap, or have lunch. That’s an entirely different post. Intrigued? Click here.
Old items remind them of the difficulties of the past. Old items are just waiting to be replaced. ***addendum from my father-in-law: “Another factor to consider why Chinese people don’t like old things was Mao’s cultural revolution.
One of the key philosophies of the revolution was for people to break from everything “old”; traditions, culture, monarchies. Everything old was “decadent”. (Thank you Bebo!)**
While I look at antiques as having a story to tell, the Chinese just don’t seem to care. Scratched and dented? I love it. Musty and cracked? Must have it.
We found the ultimate place to find Chinese treasures here in Shanghai. It’s called Shanghai Mu Lan Hua Ge Jia Ju Li Curio. Here it is:
Yep. We went there. It was AH-MAZING. I learned about this place from another blogger. Then I showed my husband and got a hearty – Hell yea! So, we showed the address to our driver and off we went with our three children. Our driver, Jason, thought we were insane. Crazy laowai poring through buildings full of Chinese junk. It was fun having him along. He explained some items to us and entertained the kids with some sword fighting and accordion playing.
We spent about two hours there, and I could’ve spent more time. The kids got itchy (bugs), sniffly (dust) and hungry. But we all had fun sword fighting, searching for crazy items and finally deciding upon two pieces – a Chinese drum and the “jade dragon”:
I highly recommend this trip. A great venture into the outskirts of Shanghai. Bring bug spray. And take me with you…I need to buy these: