Went back to Bras Basah Complex yesterday to look for some material on Chinese Jade collection. Sadly, the reliable books and catalogues were nowhere to be seen. Seemed like a wasted trip until I noticed several “new” antique shops that were not open previously.
There’s a “lady-loves-her-laptop-more-than-antiques” antique shop and she was funny. Uninterested in the questionable pieces on display, I decided to ask if she had “better” antique jade pieces somewhere. She pointed to the wall and I saw a framed Taotie mask jade plaque with the words 金玉满堂 above it. Framing a jade piece? All of a sudden she rushed behind a curtain and emerged with a Chinese Bi 璧 disc in a plastic wash bowl.
The Chinese Bi 璧 disc was heavy 0.75-1.00kg and approximately 20-25cm in diameter. The disc had “Taotie mask” relief carvings on the surface which looked like cartoon Diablo. I asked how much and she flustered. The only reply I got was “价值不菲” (worth a fortune) even after asking 3 times. I left with a smile.
Next, handwritten posters of “高价收购中国邮票和古董” (willing to buy Chinese stamps and antiques at high price) outside another antique shop caught my attention. The owner has a huge collection of Chinese stamps but I do not know much in this area unfortunately. Again, several not-so-correct jade pieces were on the shelves and I asked if he had bigger ticket items.
Shop Owner: Yes of course, Hongshan 红山玉 you interested?
Shop Owner: 红山玉 you sure?
Me: Errrrr. Yes, jade pieces from 红山文化.
Shop Owner: It is so valuable nowadays, I kept it in the bank.
Immediately, he went back to the other customer in the shop holding a huge teapot swearing and whining about how he is unsure of authenticating the teapot. For an antique aficionado, he is one worked up dealer/collector.