Guide to Chinese Furniture – Part 1) What is considered an antique?


antique chinese sideboardantique chinese sideboard

Antique pieces are aged and usually must meet a minimum age before being considered an antique – generally 50 years or more. Should possess some degree of wear/tear due to time/age and use. Each piece is unusual and unique.

  1. KNOWLEDGE: Requires a comprehensive historical understanding of periods, regions, and styles as well local handcraft construction techniques, price points, authentication techniques etc.
  2. OPTIONS: There are no specific options, only generalized choices following patterns, motifs, periods and styles. The piece’s age and overall condition is a key consideration.
  3. ORDERING: The purchasing (not ordering) ordering process is generally unsophisticated and inexact. Items cannot be exactly re-ordered. Similar pieces may or may not be able to be located. Requires time. Because production & finishing techniques varied exensively from factory to factory during that time period, it is therefore difficult to find exact same piece again.
  4. SUPPLY/PRICING: Supply will constantly decrease over time and consequently price will steadily increase. Pricing can also vary significantly depending on the piece’s age, style, historical significance, condition etc.
  5. TYPES: Antique/Vintage (Under 50 can be considered “Vintage”), Country vs Classical and Restored/unrestored.

Its important to note that most items on the market today which are being promoted as antiques are in fact either converted antiques (at best) or outright fakes & copies.

More reading on this topic:

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2 Comment

  1. browntrout says:

    There is no such thing as a 50 year old antique, this is a bunch of BS! Industry standard is 90 years, and should really be at least 100 years! 50 year old pieces are ONLY considered vintage, not antique, PERIOD! So, this is misinformation, not “professional” information, used to manipulate the public into sales for all the wrong reasons! You need to be more far credible that this with your statements please!

  2. Roger S. says:

    Hey there cowboy – how about you slow down a little bit with the language! ; You are reading quite an old post – one that definitely could use an update. In “Chinese terms” (which this post is written from) porcelain is barely an antique even if its 100 years old. Tibetan pieces are easily considered antique if they are over 60-80 years old. And furniture is considered as “old” if its over 50 years – antique if its earlier then the 1920ies. (There really is no term in Chinese for antique except gudong which implies much much much older then a hundred years). No term that I know used to say “vintage” – though I tend to call it 2nd hand. Might also want to pay attention to the red notice at the bottom that says “Its important to note that most items on the market today which are being promoted as antiques are in fact either converted antiques (at best) or outright fakes & copies.”

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