How do I Choose Quality Antique Chinese Furniture?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

The first step in choosing the best antique Chinese furniture is to educate yourself thoroughly on the distinguishing characteristics of such furniture, as well as the history of each piece and the era in which a particular piece is likely to have been made. This will help you distinguish antique Chinese furniture from reproductions and copies that may look authentic but are cheaper copies made from inferior materials and processes. The next step in choosing the best antique Chinese furniture is to research reputable antique dealers in your area who can acquire the items you are considering purchasing.

When researching different antique Chinese furniture offerings, it helps to learn basic Chinese words that pertain to the furniture. Words that describe the shape, color, and materials used in construction can help you better understand the details of Chinese furniture, thereby giving you a better understanding of what to look for when considering purchasing the furniture. Remember, too, that certain pieces of furniture have a common price that may fluctuate, so it will be helpful to find out what the price range is for the piece you are considering. This will help you determine whether the antique dealer you are working with is offering a fair price, and knowing the fair value will give you bargaining leverage.

You will want to remember that while replicas and reproductions may look and feel similar to authentic antique Chinese furniture pieces, they are not the same and should not be priced the same. There is nothing wrong with replicas, and someone who wants the look and feel of an antique without paying the antique price will be just fine purchasing a replica, but if you are looking for authenticity, be sure to educate yourself on the ways to spot the real thing. True antiques are likely to have some damage or wear from normal use, so when choosing antique Chinese furniture, be sure to examine the piece carefully for craftsmanship and materials as well as normal wear and signs of damage.

A piece that is not in good condition should not automatically be discounted. The refurbishing costs may be significant, but you may be able to purchase the piece initially at a much lower price. Take note of the work the piece will need, and consider the costs associated with such repairs. Be sure to think about how authentic you want your piece to be: a refurbished piece will undoubtedly need new materials to replace old, broken ones, which can ruin the mystique for some antique owners. Others consider the refurbishing process part of the fun of owning the piece.

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