A city as new as Shanghai doesn’t seem like the most obvious place to search for old artifacts and treasures, yet antiquing is alive and well in the city. From military surplus stores and vinyl record shops to veritable furniture junkyards, Shanghai has a vintage store for everyone.
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 it. Just like at a market, expect to bargain. An appropriate starting point is half the listed price.
105 Sanlin Rd, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China
If Mu Lan Hua Ge is like an indoor junkyard, Gelin Casa is like a well-curated museum. 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.
577 Changde Rd, Jing’an District, Shanghai, China
Run by a couple hailing from China (her) and Germany (him), Emporium Vintage is a reflection of the people who created it. Nearly everything, from lederhosen to hand-carved cigar cutters, comes from Germany and dates primarily 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.
No. 4, 526 Huaihai M. Rd, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China
ARTifacts (Formerly Shanghai Green Antiques)
ARTifacts is much more than antique shopping. It is also an art gallery, showroom and museum. According to the website, ARTifacts seeks to “rescue, protect, repair and re-purpose China’s antiques, artifacts 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).
3568 Jiasong Middle Rd, Qingpu District, Shanghai, China
Yunzhou Curio City
With the Dongtai Rd. Antiques Market now a distant memory in the city, Yunzhou Curio City is the only true antiques market left for curio lovers in Shanghai. In this seven-storey market, you will find a wide range of antique goods, such as tea pots, jade jewelry, retro posters, stones, coins and old banknotes. While most of the antiques are genuine – the market is made up of individual hawkers – 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 Rd Antiques Market.
88 Damuqiao Rd, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Owned by Philip Fust, No. 3975 is more than just an extension of the original store. While Emporium focuses on vintage clothing with the occasional knick-knack thrown in, No. 3975 is an army surplus store, with vintage German military memorabilia from hunting knives to canvas backpacks. This store is definitely more niche, and more expensive to boot. However, with most pieces dating back to WW1, it carries the kind of historical significance you don’t often find in artifacts outside of museums.
No. 75, 39 Shaanxi S. Rd, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
Uptown Record Store
Uptown Record Store
You guessed it, Uptown Record Store sells, well, vintage records. Owner and local dj Sacco offers up vinyls of every genre imaginable: rock, punk, reggae, dubstep and more. But like any good vintage store, Uptown is full of surprises. Here you will also find vintage women’s clothing, sourced from ’70s and ’80s Japan and Korea. Somehow, prices are kept around the RMB200 ($30) mark, despite clothing sourcer Sophia Wong’s frequent trips to China’s eastern neighbors.
115 Pingwu Rd, Changning District, Shanghai, China
Everything in Annata is vintage, from the clothing for sale to the 1930s boudoir-themed dressing room. The owners, Julia and Ting, pick up all their items personally during their trips abroad. Most pieces are from Italy or the UK, but take a peak at price tags around the store and you’ll see locales more exotic and far-reaching than you could imagine. Prices are what you would expect from such a cosmopolitan store, but the owners are certainly not seeking to rip anyone off. And of course, the quality of the products is so high, that when you buy a dress from Annata, you’re buying a dress for life.
No. 23, 316 Jianguo W. Rd, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China