A Tianjin antique market

We went out to the ring road looking for an alleged antique market. If you aren’t with someone who can read Chinese and has an idea of where it is, you won’t find it. It’s a leaky warehouse lined end-to-end with old junk. A single aisle runs down the middle, both sides opening up to different vendors’ junk piles every couple meters. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. It was almost totally deserted when we walked in (it was xiÅ«xi time (休息), the Chinese siesta). At first glance it looked just like a bunch of old furniture, doors, and paneling, but we uncovered more than a few treasures and oddities tucked away in various corners, shelves, and cabinets.

“Antique” here mostly means “20th century,” even though the shop keepers will tell you otherwise. But things in China “get old fast.” Plus China had a rather interesting 20th century, and the junk piles reflect this.

The shop keepers, who were low-key but friendly (maybe we’d woken them up?), quoted us foreigner prices so we didn’t buy anything, though an old cricket cage, a vintage Mao button, and some old wood-and-bone majiang sets especially caught my eye. For foreigners with a little money to throw around, an interest in modern Chinese history, a non-fear of dirt, or maybe if you just have an artsy streak, this place is worth a visit. I won’t even attempt to catalogue all the interesting stuff we saw, but here are a few photos:

Chinese medicine cabinet:

Litter for carrying brides:

Lunch boxes:

Don’t know what you call this:

There was a surprising amount of old foreign stuff, like a hand-cranked generator and a trombone.

One thought on “A Tianjin antique market”

  1. Hi,
    Would it be possible for you to provide a little more information, as I’m really interested in going there? Do you have more specific directions on how to get there, or the name of this place in Chinese? Thanks.

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