CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
Shanghai | ShoppingJanuary 16, 2012

Dongtai Lu Flea Market

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Since very young of age I have always been passionate about open-air  flea markets all over the world. Nothing better to fill weekend mornings and stroll from stand to stand hearing incredible stories  over warm cups of coffee stored in large thermos about the  treasure hunted objects found in  people's homes and unthinkable venues.

With some luck I could bring home the most valuable deal ever and the energy of the lost and found object to be part of large collections of similar items sources in another part of the world.

Portobello  and Camden In London, England,  Chatuchak Market in Bangkok,  Thailand,  Marche aux Puces is Paris,  France  the Flea Market in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico  Mapusa Market in Goa , India, Sant Elmo Buenis Aires Argentina, I have been in all of them from 6 AM to noon every time I could. Each and every fleas market has something to offer that is typical of the region, mostly the neighborhood, against all odds of globalizations flea Markets apart from the usual folk  handicrafts from India , stand firm and unaltered against time.

In Shanghai , the  most modern city in China where food chains are moving up with flash buildings and stunning skylines, the concept is quite the same.  If you turn the corner  you can still find pockets that seem cut from distant centuries.

It's in a single street named Dongtai Lu , around Dongtai Road, just south of Hua Hai Zhonglu, near Hua Hai Park that  outdoor vendors line several streets on the outskirts of the Old Town

Serious antiques are few  between and replicas and  fakes, but you will find plenty of vintage items, traditional crafts, curios and assorted knick-knacks. Among the stalls with embroidered slippers for bound feet, chopsticks, lanterns and furniture you will also come across Communist-era posters, calligraphy brushes and copies of The Little Red Book in several languages. Experienced antique collectors will be able to pick up some excellent buys.

1960 colorful  memorabilia  of the cultural revolutions depicting Mao zedung and his entourage are among the most interesting objects  I have ever seen in any market elsewhere so far.  Possibly because China has been isolated  from the world for so long.

My camera clicked on Ivory opium pipes, bachelite, jade and amber large calligraphy brushes, colorful hand painted perfume bottles, old imperial style knives, vintage posters and photos, beads of all kinds, emperors ceramic statues, military hats, minute paper red lanterns, crickets wooden boxes, 1800 chess games  and so on until the battery went down.

A true pleasure!

Joelle's tips

The Street Markert: official name is Liuhe Road Old Handicraft Market.

Open Hours: 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Sat & Sun

How to Bargain

Cut the price in half, then half again. Expect to bargain ruthlessly; haggling can take hours. Antique buyers should be extremely cautious; copies are far more plentiful than authentic items across China.

How to get there The metro stop closest to the market is South Huangpi Road. Taxis are abundant and inexpensive in Shanghai and while most cab drivers know the market they do not speak English. Ask the reception at your hotel to write down the name of the market in Chinese so you can hand it to the driver. Most hotels have business cards with their address in English and Chinese and a space on the back where the Chinese name of a destination can be filled in.We introduce shanghai subway station map for you.

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