October 1st, 2012

Knowledge is Power

True. Knowledge is Power. However, one has to be discerning and skeptical among the sea of information. Beware of land mines planted in various media out there ranging from antique appraisal programmes to books on antique collection.

In recent years, the growing popularity of reality TV in China such as 寻宝》and《天下收藏》 have sparked great interest in the search for genuine cultural relics scattered across China. While it helps to educate the masses to some extent, on the flip side, it also fuels the counterfeit industry in one way or another. The mentality of turning wealthy overnight has spurred many to frequent "modern" antique markets and fall prey to cunning dealers. These TV programmes are rarely independent and often sponsored by auction houses or financial institutions, hence their appraisals should not be taken for granted. Thus far, the content seems pretty reliable (at least for Chinese Jade) and one should always verify through your own research. 


Thanks to YY, I managed to get my hands on a copy of the book "The Harmonious Beauty of Jade In Time Of Harmony: The Beijing Olympics and Chinese Jade Culture" through Taobao.com.  

The Harmonious Beauty of Jade In Time Of Harmony - The Beijing Olympics and Chinese Jade Culture

I have spent a great deal of time searching Kinokuniya, Popular/Prologue, NLBs and every single bookstore in Bras Basah Complex. Finally, this book by Gu Fang emerged victorious. Besides being a comprehensive summary on the key milestones of Chinese Jade Culture, the reference pieces are mostly authentic as compared to other materials. It is both interesting and shocking to note that nearly 7 out of 10 Chinese Jade Collection books present modern reproductions as historical pieces.

At the end of the day, exposure to the real stuff is critical in terms of training the eye and evaluating the origins of antique Chinese jade. The generic closing remark of "heading down to your local reputable dealer or antique markets to learn more" is not very helpful nowadays. 

Check out 《天下收藏》http://tv.sogou.com/tvshow/wxt4vu553lcl6igk2wznruhd.html  if you are hungry for more!

Need assistance to evaluate a certain jade piece? Feel free to drop a comment here and we can always arrange a meetup in Singapore if necessary.