Antiques Collectibles

Several of the Chinese-product stores, listed under "Chinese Craft Emporiums," below, also stock antiques, especially porcelain. You can also find shops selling antiques and collectibles in Harbour City, a megamall in Tsim Sha Tsui, particularly along the so-called Silk Road arcade on level 3 of Zone D (the Hongkong Hotel Arcade). Additionally, many hotel shopping arcades have at least a few shops specializing in antiques. Antiques buffs should also inquire at HKTB whether international auctioneers Christie's or Sotheby's are holding one of their regular sales for antiques in Hong Kong.

The most famous area for antiques and chinoiserie, however, is around Hollywood Road and Cat Street, both above the Central District on Hong Kong Island. This area gained fame in the 1950s, following the 1949 revolution in China (which flooded the market with family possessions). Hollywood Road twists along for a little more than .8km (^i mile), with shops selling original and reproduction Qing and Ming dynasty Chinese furniture, original prints, scrolls, porcelain, clay figurines, silver, and rosewood and black-wood furniture, as well as fakes and curios. Near the western end is Upper Lascar Row, popularly known as Cat Street, where sidewalk vendors sell snuff bottles, curios, and odds and ends. At the eastern end of Hollywood Road, near Pottinger Street, is a cluster of chic antiques shops displaying furniture and blue-and-white porcelain, including goods from neighboring Asian countries, such as Korean chests and Japanese hibachi. If you're a real antiques collector, I suggest you simply walk through the dozens of shops on and around Hollywood Road. If you cannot tell the difference between originals and reproductions, you are better off shopping at one of the HKTB member stores, which display HKTB's gold circle and calligraphy logo.

If you're purchasing anything more than 100 years old, request a Certificate of Antiquity, along with a receipt detailing your purchase. Although it is illegal to smuggle antiques out of mainland China, many smuggled items do in fact end up in Hong Kong, where it is legal to then sell, buy, and own them. Needless to say, this has caused some friction between China and Hong Kong, especially when international auction houses have sold well-documented, smuggled Chinese antiques.

Cat Street Galleries Cat Street Galleries, on a street parallel to Cat Street, houses several individually owned booths of arts and crafts and expensive antiques from the various dynasties, making it a good place to begin an antiques shopping odyssey. It's open Monday to Friday from 11am to 6pm and Saturday from 10am to 6pm. 38 Lok Ku Rd., Central. & 852/2543 1609. MTR: Central. Bus: 26 (from Des Voeux Rd. Central in front of the Hongkong Bank) to the 2nd stop on Hollywood Rd., at Man Mo Temple.

Charlotte Horstmann and Gerald Godfrey A favorite of well-to-do antiques collectors for more than 40 years, this small shop, located in Zone C (Ocean Terminal, near the Star Ferry end) of the Harbour City shopping mall on Canton Road, is an emporium of expensive, top-quality Asian antiques, including rosewood furniture, wood carvings, and bronzes. Since the shop itself is rather small and serves mainly as an office and reception area, be sure to make an appointment to see the adjoining 10,000-square-foot warehouse. Its stock varies, but Chinese art and jade are well represented; antiques from Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, and Korea are usually also available. It's open Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 6pm. Shop 100D, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3 Canton Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui. & 852/2735 7167. MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui.

China Art This family-owned shop, which has the elegance of an art gallery with its mixed displays of furniture and art, is one of Hong Kong's best for antique Chinese furniture, including chairs, tables, folding screens, chests, and wardrobes, mostly from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Located across from the Central Police Station, it's open Monday to Saturday from 10:30am to 6pm and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. 15 Hollywood Rd., Central. & 852/2542 0982 or 852/2840 0816. MTR: Central. Bus: 26 (from Des Voeux Rd. Central in front of the Hongkong Bank) to Hollywood Rd.

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Antique Collecting

Antique Collecting

ABOUT fifty years ago, when the subject of English furniture first began to be studied and to be written about, it was divided conveniently into four distinct types. One writer called his books on the subject The Age of Oak, The Age of Walnut, The Age of Mahogany and The Age of Satinwood. It is not really quite as simple as that, for each of the so-called Ages overlaps the others and it is quite impossible to lagt down strict dates as to when any one timber was introduced or when it finally, if ever, went out of favour.

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