Random Walk Down…Bras Basah Complex


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.

white wash bowl

The Chinese Bi  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?

Me: Sure.

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.

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