Chinese antiques are beloved for their aesthetic appeal, excellent finishes, and historic value. These factors have made them very popular in the antique market. However, you should be able to distinguish between various Chinese antiques before purchasing them as this can help you snap up a bargain. It can also save you loads of money as you will be able to estimate what is a valuable Chinese antique and what is not.
Here are some of the things that you should be aware of before you purchase any Chinese antique.
Understand Chinese Antique Wood
Since most Chinese antiques are made with wood, it makes a lot of sense to understand the different types of wood used to make them. This is because the type of wood used to make Chinese antiques often plays a major role in determining the value of the antique. In fact, experts estimate that the difference in the material used for two identical Chinese antiques can often run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. With this in mind, you should be aware that the two valuable types of wood when it comes to Chinese antiques are Zitan and Huanghuali. They mostly originate from the Chinese province of Hainan and are considered highly valuable.
Understand the Mode of Construction
One of the unique aspects of Chinese antique furniture is that no nails or glue was ever used in its construction. Instead, pieces of furniture were connected using intricate joints, which were beautifully crafted and precise. The reason why you need to know this is because when Chinese antiques are restored, often the work will be done with nails and glue. This in turn affects the value of your Chinese antique.
Check All Crevices
When it comes to Chinese antiques, it is important to remember that it was not always antique. In fact, most of the old pieces of Chinese furniture were used as everyday pieces of furniture. For this reason, it is common for antique dealers to undertake restoration work on Chinese furniture. Most experts undertaking restoration work will usually conceal signs of this work underneath the furniture in order to conserve the pristine nature of the antiques. For this reason, it is important to examine any Chinese antique from every side and more so on the underside for any signs of restoration work. By doing this, you get a better understanding of the value of what you are buying.
Work With Restoration Experts
You need to remember that there are many different types of furniture restoration experts. Ideally, you need to work with an expert who specializes in the restoration of Chinese pieces. Such an expert may be able to restore your piece expertly, using the same system of joints that were originally used to create the piece in the first place. Such an expert will probably be able to guide you on how to care for the furniture, ensuring that it remains in top condition.
Use Climate Control
If you have a large collection of Chinese furniture, it might be a great idea to invest in climate control. This is especially true if you live in a warm humid area such as near the coast. The reason for this is that some of the organic materials that are used to make the furniture may shrink (or expand) depending on the weather conditions. This may interfere with the movement of the joints and at the worst, may cause your precious Chinese artifacts to crack. You should consider installing humidifiers and other climate control mechanisms to help keep your collection in great condition.