We’ve always said it but China still probably remains our top destination when it comes to finding interesting pieces. Maybe India is so harsh on its environment that unlike China not much lasts, which can have it’s good points as the unmistakable patinas of India reach visual perfection quickly. Regardless, China is special in many ways. It’s a monstrous country with all its provinces and of course tonnes of respected traditional history. Over time you begin to recognise the shapes, colours and art from individual areas that we prefer. Dongbei Consoles, Xinjiang Bed cabinets and Shanxi Robes come to mind. They're all popular pieces right now and something tells me they always will be.
It’s just a shame we can’t bring it all home, trust me I would love to. To be honest the Chinese pieces have been really popular over the last 6 months. I do think the Chinese pieces are at home in ANY home due to the different styles and moods they can accommodate. The dark painted classic shapes look perfect in seriously high-end homes. Then there are the light Elm pieces. Whether it's old door coffee tables, Dongbei consoles or sideboards - that washed back century aged blonde timber is a no-brainer in the coastal, driftwood inspired spaces.
If there is one aspect of the Chinese pieces that really grabs my sense of style it’s the painted pieces. Original pieces sometimes and often over 200 years old (you need to think about how old that actually is). I can’t explain how much my mind just screams “GET IT” when I see them. I actually have to hold back excitement when walking an aisle and I see it coming. I then very casually ask “What about this one - how much?", done with a little raised lower lip. And with a quick calculation to see what that means once landed and it’s an "OK, I’ll take it" - (YES!). I had quite a few of those moments on this latest trip to China. Sometimes the price is just too much that it’s a massive risk for us to invest in and sadly these ones get left behind, probably for some large American buyer with Hollywood customers!
Now we have a seriously small house. I actually know very few people that have a house smaller than ours, which in a couple of cases is short term as they plan to knock over and build or renovate. But, you can bet every trip there is a piece or two bought where Tara and I, over WhatsApp both say “we’ll take it home, maybe.” - quickly followed by "Where are we are going to put it?". Don’t worry they rarely come home and to Tara’s disgust she says, “I always lose the good ones”. I have to agree but then remind her we sell things and collecting them is just a short-term idea as eventually, it all goes to another, mostly bigger home…ha! We did manage to grab a few things from this China trip…the highlight being 3 extremely old pots. I fell in love with these old Wine Jars (more like pots, quite big). They are from the Shanxi Provence well over 200 years old with amazing art which indicates by the style they were created in the Ming dynasty - something we will hopefully keep forever.