Seasoned collectors that make amateurs green with envy
By Zhu Linyong
Updated: 2007-11-08 07:07

Liang Xiuwei began learning the basics about collecting art as a young child. He feels lucky as his parents hid the family treasures during the chaotic years such as the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

Liang started collecting jade and porcelain in the late 1970s when China started to open up.

He says that many art collectors he knows regret destroying their own family treasures in fear of political reprisal in the 1960s.

Unlike Liang, Zong Hongfei, in her 30s, began building her private jade artwork collection only five years ago, following the success of her Hubei-based medical business.

"Growing older, I have come to realize that I have an affinity with ancient Chinese culture. Living in a fast-changing society, I would like to discover my cultural roots and find my own way of communicating with our ancestors. Jade collecting is one way to do this," says Zong, who loves roaming antique markets.

Zong and several other young collectors meet regularly to discuss jade collecting, and last year, she joined the China Research Society of Ancient Jadeware.

"Backed by experts and veteran collectors from the research body, I feel more confident spotting good jadeware," Zong says.

Yu Le, a young TV drama actor from Changchun, Northeast China's Jilin Province, began collecting jade after being influenced by older actors such as Wang Gang and Zhang Tielin, who are widely recognized as being "big players" in art circles.

"Jade collecting is only part of my love of traditional Chinese culture," says Yu who also invests in teapots, paper fans and ink paintings.

But jade collectors must be prepared to make mistakes and take losses, says Liang Jianguo, an entrepreneur in Beijing who reads and watches anything about jade collection.

"The more you know about jade, the fewer mistakes you may make," he claims.

To avoid taking big risks, Liang sticks to a strict budget: "I would not buy it if the price of a good jade piece exceeds 20,000 yuan ($2,700). That is my limit."

(China Daily 11/08/2007 page18)