Beijing Antique Stores
Once upon a time when a family fell on hard times in Beijing, the shame of being forced to hock the family furniture meant that the sellers were keen not to be recognized in the act, with the inevitable loss of face involved. The solution for many was to do the selling very early in the morning, when darkness would shroud the dishonorable deed. And so the tradition of taking a torch with you to Panjiayuan, and arriving as early as 4:30 a.m. to snatch up the good stuff was born. These days the market is neither open that early nor is it only a weekend affair. Even with the new extended hours, the best time to go is before noon on a Saturdays or Sunday.
From works of Chinese calligraphy and paintings, the four treasures of the study, old watches and clocks, jewelry, ivory and wood carvings, carpets, to antiques from Tibet, there are definitely treasures to be found here, but it is hard to tell genuine antiques from worthless fakes. Real antiques are supposed to bear a red official seal that proves their authenticity, but, sometimes, real items are not marked and faked items are. Do not worry if an item is a fake or not. Many of the things on sale are not real antiques. On the other hand, recently a 50,000-year-old fossil was confiscated from one of the sellers there. The fossil was on sale for about US$150, so you never know. Here it is best to bargain down a price to a figure you can accept and go for it. Small jade articles and silver trinkets make great presents for people at home and they are easy to take on an airplane.
Add: Southeast Beijing near the Panjiayuan Bridge (east of Longtan Park)
Beijing Curio City
As one of the largest antiques markets in Beijing, Beijing Curio City is a multi-story building which is full of antiques and small items. This city is the largest antique exchange center in Asia and handles more than 1,000 kinds of antiques including paintings, calligraphic works, jewelry and jade goods. 352 doors of traveling merchants, coming from all over the country, bring antiques and cultural relics works of culture style of different regions and realize buy all over the country and sell all over the country. There still are new craftworks of self-produce and self-sale with unique style. Beautiful shops distribute in three-stores building. It has sponsored regular exhibitions and auctions and has something for people of all ages.
Address: 21 E. Third Ring S. Rd. Beijing
Shibalidian-Beijing Antique Furniture Village
Shibalidian used to be a warehouse district where antique furniture brought in from the provinces was stored before moving on to the main urban markets. Gradually, it became a site for furniture workshops that stripped, repaired, and restored the pieces that would later be sold at market. As rents at Panjiayuan and other large markets became more expensive, many furniture dealers began to move their retail and wholesale operations into Shibalidian. In fact, furniture dealers have been moving into the area in such numbers that the district has been transformed into a sprawling antique furniture village, frequented by wholesalers but also open to the public.
Most of the antiques at Shibalidian date from the mid-to-late Qing Dynasty. Tea tables, grandfather chairs, wardrobes, settees, camphor chests, wooden transoms and elaborately carved traditional Chinese beds are some of the most commonly found pieces. You also found Buddhist carvings, sets of vermilion folding doors, and some unusual wooden totem-like statuary that we were told traditionally graced each side of the staircase in affluent households. Many furniture stores double as workshops, which can produce reproductions, using the age, style, type of wood and finish that the buyer selects.