10 Best Antique Shops in Hong Kong
By Ed Peters
Hong Kong Local Expert
Hong Kong realized the potential of antiques early, and as soon as Mainland China opened for business, back in the early 1980s, dealers sent scouts around the country seeking out antique furniture which had long been neglected and which locals were all too happy (if slightly puzzled) to exchange for cold hard cash. Teams of expert restorers worked their magic and the next stop was Hong Kong's antique shops. Other parts of Asia have proved equally good sources, so antique shoppers in Hong Kong are in for a treat. A word of warning: if you are looking at a very expensive item, it is well worth getting expert advice before handing over your credit card.
Many antique shops line Hollywood Road, in Central. Some are fairly large operations, such as Arch Angel Antiques, dealing in ultra fine objets d'dart, others are much smaller with a stock of curios. High rents have forced some dealers to look for alternative premises, whether on outlying islands or in Wong Chuk Hang on the south of Hong Kong Island. The Red Lantern, on Lantau Island, is one of Hong Kong's more interesting shops and well worth the trip out from the center of town to have a look.
10 The Red Lantern
Run by Anthony March and Gary Lo, The Red Lantern has been flourishing on Lantau Island for the past 15 years, drawing on the rich supply of antiques that the owners source from Mainland China. The selection of Chinese antique furniture, curios and collectibles is not huge, but the quality is top-notch. While there are some pricey items, there are also plenty of small souvenirs that costs no more than a couple of hundred Hong Kong dollars. Best of all, the owners are more than happy to offer advice and can discourse at length on their wares' provenance. Call ahead to book an appointment if you are visiting on a weekday. (852-2984-0099, 852-6298-4634)
9 Eastern Dreams
This shop is pretty much ceramics central. Located in the city's antiques area, Eastern Dreams specializes in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. This multilevel shop has been in business for more than 20 years and carries items such as woodcarvings, ceramics, and decorative accessories. As is the practice in many of Hong Kong's better antique shops, the owners usually source their stock in China, and clean and refurbish it as necessary before putting it in the shop window. Don't hesitate to ask for advice about any piece that catches your eye, and of course Eastern Dreams is well acquainted with the intricacies of shipping and insurance. MTR: Sheung Wan. (852-2544-2804)
8 Elegant Arts Company
Prepare for some classics! From reproductions to antiques, this dealer carries Chinese items from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Elegant Arts Company decor is upscale, and items are featured in glass cases. The staff is cordial and attentive. The 18th and 19th centuries were particularly productive eras for the arts community in China, when they were encouraged by the elite to refine and improve their designs. Much of the best work from this time has survived, either by chance or because it was exported from China to Hong Kong for safe keeping. Ask about shipping and insurance -- the staff will be happy to oblige. MTR: Sheung Wan (852-2317-7836)
7 Arch Angel Antiques
If you're a Ming and Tang fan, this is the right place. With terracotta and porcelain figurines from the Ming and Tang dynasties, this dealer provides a huge selection of items. Bring a good pair of walking shoes because Arch Angel Antiques is housed in a large, 5,400-square foot facility. The store also stocks lacquer ware, sculptures and furniture. It's worthwhile noting that Arch Angel Antiques has been running for the best part of 30 years -- an accolade in the face of the stiff competition from other antique shops in the area and equally stiff rents. As with most antique shops in this area, if you don't see something you like, just ask. MTR: Sheung Wan. (852-2851-6848)
6 CP Ching
Here's some antique shopping with a difference. After many years as a regular store, CP Ching has taken the decision to go online. It specializes in Chinese embroideries, Buddhist and Tibetan art, jewelry, furniture and rugs. Customers are advised that after browsing its offerings, they may make an appointment to meet staff in person. CP Ching guarantees the authenticity of its antiques, and offers a 30-day refund policy. While its online operation is a rather different experience to actually browsing in a shop -- where you can touch and smell the artifacts -- it is a bonus for serious shoppers or anyone who is in search of a particular piece. (852-2810-9033)
5 Yue Po Chai Antiques
Get set to browse -- at length. The lush red lantern exterior of Yue Po Chai Antiques sets the mood at this impressive dealer. Located near the Man Mo Temple, this showroom features more than 10,000-square feet of curios, artifacts, and furniture. Period pieces can date back to the Neolithic period and range to the present day. Yue Po Chai Antiques is renowned for its huge stock of ceramics. That Yue Po Chai Antiques has been in business for more than half a century is one of the best recommendations -- this is a good place to start antiques shopping to get a good idea of what is on offer. MTR: Sheung Wan (852-2540-4374)
4 Teresa Coleman Fine Arts
Here's a name to conjure with. Teresa Coleman Fine Arts has been established in Hong Kong for the past three decades as a gallery specializing in antique Chinese embroidered costumes and textiles. These range from the magnificent Dragon robes of the Imperial court, to formidable wall hangings and unusual and delicately embroidered accessories, earmuffs, shoes, collars, hats and purses. The gallery also features beautifully embroidered curtains and covers made especially for export, exquisitely carved and painted fans, lacquer, paintings, engravings and more. Following requests from designer clients and drawing on a huge inventory of antique designs, Teresa Coleman has recently begun to make a range of custom made adaptations and reproductions for use as hotel uniforms, hotel artwork, bed covers and soft furnishings, using both machine and hand embroidery. (852-2526-2450)
3 Art Treasures Gallery
Art Treasures is well named. Genuine antique Chinese furniture, antique artifacts and Chinese architectural relics are Art Treasures Gallery specialty. Located in Hong Kong and Macau with a large Chinese antiques warehouse in Zhuhai, southern China, Art Treasures Gallery is a Hong Kong antiques dealer and restorer of classical and provincial antique Chinese furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Chinese antiques are Art Treasures Gallery's passion. The owners have been collecting, storing and restoring genuine antique Chinese furniture, artifacts and antique Chinese architectural relics since 1987. The selection is extensive even by the high standards of Hollywood Road, and many customers have been coming back here for years. (852-2543-0430)
2 Altfield Gallery
Lke paper? Well, this exclusive antique shop specializes in Asian themed prints and maps. The Altfield Gallery also deals in Qing and Ming Dynasty furniture reproductions, sculpture from Southeast Asia, and Tibetan rugs. Established in 1980, Altfield was one of the first antique dealers to focus on 18th and early 19th century Chinese furniture. In addition to Chinese furniture, Altfield also has a particularly good range of Southeast Asian sculpture, Burmese and Cambodian silver, Indian gold jewelry, maps and topographical prints relating to Asia, and the minor decorative arts. Regular exhibitions are held throughout the year. The staff are exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful. MTR: Central. (852-2537-6370)
1 Honeychurch Antiques
Shops come and go along Hollywood Road; businesses move in and out; even the landscape changes, with the construction of a footbridge by the former police station. But Honeychurch Antiques endures. Both British and Asian antiques are available, and this upscale dealer specializes in silver jewelry. The shop also carries folk art, maps, prints, and porcelain goods. Honeychurch is great if you are looking for either a large piece, or simply a small souvenir to remind you of travels to Hong Kong. Charming and incredibly well-informed staff are more than willing to pass the time of day or discuss the minutiae of Honeychurch's wares. (852-2543-2433)
About Ed Peters
Ed Peters has been based in Asia for most of his adult life, and counts Hong Kong as his second home. While he lives in a farming village on one of the outlying islands, getting to the city center takes only half-an-hour by ferry. And it's only 30 minutes by taxi to Hong Kong's futuristic international airport. These are just two of Hong Kong's many attractions -- the blend of urban and rural, and the ease of getting around what must be one of the most exciting cities on the planet.
Read more about Ed Peters here.