Now that the once-beloved Dongtai Rd antiques market has been demolished, antiquarians in Shanghai are left with few obvious options for where to find old treasures. Don’t worry, though. The market may have disappeared, but antiquing is alive and well. Culture Trip has rounded up some of the city’s top places to shop for ancient curios.
Shanghai Mu Lan Hua Ge Jia Ju Li Curio Company
If you’re looking for a crazy variety of antiques all in one spot, look no further than the Mulan Huage Antiques Warehouse in Pudong. You can find just about everything in this dark indoor junkyard, from old trunks, chairs, and tables to musical instruments, radios, Buddha statues, and even taxidermy baby goats. Sure there’s a lot of rubbish to sort through, but if you find something decent, the staff will help you repair and paint up as good as new. Just like at a market, expect to bargain. An appropriate starting point is half the listed price.
ARTifacts is much more than just antique shopping. It is also an art gallery, showroom, and museum. According to their website, they seek to “rescue, protect, repair and re-purpose China’s antiques, artefacts and ancient arts, so that the culturally significant pieces can continue to be enjoyed, displayed and appreciated by our generation today, and by our children’s generation tomorrow.” In China’s rush to modernize, the people at ARTifacts feel it is their duty to preserve rather than destroy. Specializing in antique furniture, the marketplace stocks many Ming and Qing Dynasty family heirlooms that can be given new life by you and your family. Perhaps one of the largest privately owned antique shops in China, ARTifacts spans six floors and more than 77,000 square feet (7200 square meters).
If you somehow haven’t found what you’re looking for in the vast expanses of Mu Lan Hua Ge or ARTifacts, try Yunzhou Curio City, a seven-story market filled with stalls selling a wide range of antique goods. You might find tea pots, jade jewelry, retro posters, stones, coins, and old banknotes. While most of the antiques are genuine, because the market is made up of individual hawkers, keep a keen eye out for counterfeits. Culture Trip recommends going on the weekends when touts spill out onto the surrounding streets, making it almost like the good old days of Dongtai Rd.
Maybe massive marketplaces are too overwhelming for you. If this is the case, Gelin Casa may suit you better. The couple who run this small store source their antiques from old Shanghai buildings marked for demolition. The duo then fix the furniture and other items up and sell them in the showroom. The products are always changing and include fixtures, doors, stairs, tiles, sinks, and more. Expect higher prices than elsewhere, but nothing unreasonable.