Red or Black Lacquer Gilt Paintings – determining the old from the new on Chinese gold painted furniture.

  I was recently looking over a gilded and painted antique Chinese book cabinet (书柜), with a customer in a very expensive Hong Kong antique dealers shop. I casually remarked that the gold paintings have been retouched and in some cases were completely new. (Though the dealer would swear the paintings were original, whether they knew […]

Hidden beauty: Careful cleaning reveals beautiful color on this Chinese antique sideboard from Shanxi

Chinese shifu scholar

You never really know what you will find when you start on restoration of an antique. Experience helps but its nevertheless often times more art then process. Since some customers, particularly those in the know, prefer to select antique pieces in un-restored form, which while exciting and educating, can present some tricky problems for the […]

Faux and distressed finishes: A “start to finish” look at creating a hand-rubbed black lacquer finish.

I find the processes used in the workshop fascinating, and though others might enjoy it if I share some of them here. Today we look at the steps taken from start to finish to create one type of finish: a slightly distressed thick black lacquer finish with hand rubbed  edges. In this example case, the […]

A quick look at some beautiful antique shanxi painted furniture in unrestored form

  During a recent buying excursion, I stumbled across these beautiful lacquered / painted armoires, from Shanxi province in Northern China.  While not nearly as prized by Chinese buyers, who often prefer hardwoods like Hua li or Hong mu, the status of Shanxi painted furniture has nevertheless risen significantly over the years for its beauty […]

The real deal: Looking back a few hundred years at an authentic chinese alter table

This enormous solid wood console (over two meters) which probably dates back to the Ming Dynasty, originally made its home in a temple in Shanxi province before being stumbled upon by us in the far off, dusty dirty corners of the antiques trade. Known in Chinese as a “Gong An,” or roughly a”temple table” the […]

Restoring a Chinese mahjong table with a bit of pyrotechnics!

I get so backed up with blog posts, because there is so many interesting and fascinating things to see and talk about. And being detailed oriented, I really want to spend the time to talk about each item in detail, the history behind it, where it comes from and all the other details that make […]