Antique Antics

What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, Twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.

Collecting is a beautiful disease. Insidious with no known cure. You acquire a thing. You love it. You get another thing, similar, but not the same. One day, you look around and you have a collection.

Han Dynasty 206 BC - 220 AD

Han Dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD

Chinese antique porcelain and Asian sacred art grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. There is something awe-inspiring about holding something in your hand that was created thousands of years ago. It lives on your fireplace mantel.

Bronze, probably Tibetan, 19th century?

Bronze, probably Tibetan, 19th century?

You look at it and imagine all the people who have touched it, whose lives this pot has touched, whose prayers this Buddha has heard. It’s living history.

Qianlong (1736-1795) porcelain.

Qianlong (1736-1795) porcelain.

Thus, when I had to reduce the collection, I didn’t sell anything. I split the collection and gave more than half my favorite pieces to my friends, people who I knew would treasure it as I did. How much was it worth? A lot, maybe. Or not so much. I don’t know. It was beyond price to me. Money is transitory but these precious, fragile, beautiful pieces need to be protected, to be kept safe, not sold as decorations.

Tang horse with servant

Tang horse with servant

A great deal of the world’s great art has been casually destroyed by governments and individuals with no reverence for art or history. War, natural disasters have contributed to reducing the number of these fragile pieces of art. If I can save a Han pot, a Qianlong vase, or a single Tibetan Buddha. I’ve saved something of value. I no longer collect, but I continue to preserve and protect.

Categories: Antiques and Antiquities, Archeology, Arts, History, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. “Insidious with no known cure” So true, but eventually I narrowed down my addiction to hand made wooden bowls hewn from one piece of wood and hand carved wooden anything : )


  2. Oddly enough, Harold has some pieces just like those, just saying. 😉


  3. I have a too huge collection of Kachina dolls and other native Indian artifacts… some of them several centuries old. They sit in a closet, collecting dust. Not my passion, nor my style, just an inheritance. Cannot bear to part with them, would never sell them… it would be just…. wrong. Unless it was someone with passion for them… but Goldwater is long gone. 😀

    My thoughts keep leading me toward a museum… however, am too fearful of them moldering along in a cardboard box. Perhaps, one day, I will attempt to return them to the tribe who originally used them. Or not. Then my progeny can figure it out. Bwwwaaahaaaahaaaa.

    Likely, the oldest thing I own is me. Pretty damned sure it ain’t my first go-round.


  4. I had to search my memory to remember the oldest thing I own. Until recently it would have been my BMW motorcycle leathers, circa 1985. I gave them to Goodwill when I moved into Eric’s condo 6 months ago. Now I would say it’s my genuine Lee Denim jacket. It’s still had the tag proving it was made in the U.S.A.. I worked for the textile mill, Graniteville Company, that made the denim that went into that jacket. My youngest niece tried desperately to talking me into giving it to her when she was still a teen. Now she has a daughter who is 21. I suppose that becomes the record holder. I still wear it on occasion with no nostalgic feelings attached. It’s rugged and so well made I doubt it will ever wear out from my use. It has zero lining or insulation so it only gets worn as a windbreaker/sunshield in mild, sunny conditions. I bought it brand new and it cost me $50.


  5. These are beautiful. I knew you had some wonderful ancient treasures.


  6. Oh Marilyn, what a lovely collection! I have a pair of gold bracelets that belonged to my great grandmother. I also have her wedding pictures with the bracelets on her arm. One of the bracelets has a dint in it from where my mother bit into it when she was a baby.


  7. Love the bronze one from the TIbetan era. He looks like he would bring good juju!


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