My recent visit to Shanghai Green Antiques was a fun journey into China's past and present. The friendly English speaking showroom curator Jason spent nearly an hour with me strolling through their gigantic showroom, highlighting key antiquities, and explaining how Green Antiques was able to salvage such a fascinating collection of ancient Chinese carvings, corbels and architectural pieces. The shortened version of the interesting story is simply that China's rapid modernization took a toll on temples, ancient warlord palaces, Ming and Qing Dynasty officials' courtyard homes, and ancient towns and villages which stood in the way of wrecking ball progress.
I was told that the owners of Green Antiques, wanting to do their small part to help save China's architectural heritage, spent the past 30 years collecting countless carvings, corbels, beams, pillars, and other architectural works of art. They estimate millions of man-hours were spent by the finest carpenters and artisans of the day carving the pieces which are available to view and even purchase at Green Antiques. Some beautiful temple doors in the collection even have the large paper X pasted to the doors showing that the temple was scheduled for demolition.
The Green Antiques website claims that a trip to their showroom is as fun as a trip to the museum, and after visiting I have to say that I agree with them - one difference of course is that in this museum you can leave with your own piece of the collection!
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