Treasure hunters come to Shanghai to browse its world-class antique shops, where items from China’s past are painstakingly preserved and replicated. Retro dressers, meanwhile, need look no further than the city’s cool old-world vintage stores. Here are the nine best antique and vintage shops in Shanghai.
Madam Mao’s Dowry
This high-concept shop exhibits items from the Mao Period (1949-1976), such as photographs, historical objects and artwork. It also boasts over 2,000 propaganda posters, making it one of the biggest collections in town. Each poster is authenticated with a certificate upon purchase. In addition to Mao period collectibles, Madam Mao’s Dowry now features the work of 25 contemporary artists and Shanghai-based designers, bridging vintage Chinese with contemporary design.
Eastern Curio Shanghai
This antique furniture wholesaler has been in business for over 15 years, shipping unique pieces to buyers all over the world. The online shop has a wide selection of inspiring items, from paintings and calligraphy, to authentic textiles and costumes. Eastern Curio Shanghai specialises in antique wooden furniture such as cabinets, tables, trunks and wardrobes, making it popular with homeowners. To accompany their bigger furniture, they offer a great collection of objects from the Mao period such as clocks, posters, figurines and clothing. They ship worldwide and most objects can be purchased through their website.
Yunzhou Curio City, Shanghai
With the legendary Dongtai Road Antiques Market now a distant memory in Shanghai, Yunzhou Curio City is the only true antiques market left for curio lovers in the city. In this seven-storey market, you’ll find a wide range of antique goods touted proudly from their hawker stalls, such as tea pots, jade jewellery, coins and old banknotes. While most of the antiques are genuine, keep a keen eye out for counterfeits. It’s advisable to go during the weekend when touts spill out onto the surrounding streets, making it almost like the good old days of the departed Dongtai Road Antiques Market.
If you love vintage clothing and accessories, Annata Vintage is a must. This boutique clothing shop is packed with eccentric, one-of-a-kind pieces, specialising in items from around the world dating back to the 1940s. Each piece is hand-selected and curated by the owners, ranging from casual to fancy, all with beautiful detailing. Everything is priced affordably for the quality of the product.
Lolo Loves Vintage
Entering Lolo Loves Vintage feels like walking into a period costume closet, full of beautifully designed and curated pieces. This boutique shop is filled with glamorous women’s items imported from fancy places like Paris and London, including dresses, shoes and even swimsuits from decades past. Each item feels like a treasure and should be handled as such.
While you’re on Wuyuan Lu checking out Lolo Loves Vintage, don’t miss Handshop – tucked into an alley off the main road. This densely packed, whimsical shop will transport you to a time gone by. Handshop is filled with genuine French antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries, and even smells like the pages of a first edition book. For sale are antique pieces of furniture, jewellery and accessories, plus some more eccentric items like clown statues and music boxes. There’s a romantic garden and porch swing outside the shop, where many lovers come to take pictures.
Emporium Vintage is a reflection of its owners, run by a couple hailing from China and Germany. Nearly everything, from lederhosen to hand-carved cigar cutters, is sourced from Europe, dating back to the ’70s and ’80s. Women will find a charming mix of gaudy evening gowns and affordable everyday sartorial pieces, while men can appreciate the shaving kits, hats and pipes. Each piece has a story and the vintage-loving owners are more than happy to tell it.
Uptown Record Store
Uptown Record Store is a real throwback to record shops of the ’80s and is perhaps one of the few physical stores to still sell records in Shanghai. Owner and local DJ Sacco offers vinyls of every genre imaginable – rock, punk, reggae, dubstep and more. You’ll also find vintage women’s clothing, sourced from ’70s and ’80s Japan and Korea, all affordably priced.
Alongside being an antiques shop, ARTifcats also serves as an art gallery, showroom and museum. In China’s rush to modernise, the people at ARTifacts feel it is their duty to preserve rather than destroy remnants from the past. As one of the largest privately owned antique shops in China, the venue spans six floors and more than 77,000 square feet. The marketplace stocks gorgeous Ming and Qing Dynasty family heirlooms.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Rachel Deason.
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