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Young Chinese instill vitality to collectibles market

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-03-15 15:34
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Li Ruiqi, a 28-year-old staff member of an auction company, has been sharing her daily work experiences and knowledge about collectibles on her WeChat Channel account since the end of last year. Her subscribers have continued to grow as more people, especially the younger generation, are eager to learn about history and traditional culture this way.

"Hello, everyone, today I'll introduce you to the unique porcelain made in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) during the reign of Emperor Daoguang (1821-1850)," said Li, with China Guardian Auctions Co. Ltd.

From late February to early March, the auction house held a themed exhibition showcasing porcelain made in the imperial kiln during the Emperor Daoguang period. The event drew the attention of Beijing's residents and antiques-lovers.

"We do our utmost to explore the cultural connotation behind these collectibles, whereby their value will also be increased. When the audience see a collection, they will no longer just see an old object that looks beautiful. Instead, they will truly understand the important historical value behind it," said Li, explaining that commercial activities have a positive impact on the protection of cultural relics and collectibles.

Nowadays, young Chinese are not only interested in learning about cultural relics, but professionals like Li Ruiqi are also injecting new vitality into the collectibles market, contributing to the inheritance and protection of traditional culture.

Shao Tianhong, also a "post-90s" art market practitioner, graduated from a British university and studied Chinese art history for her Master's degree. Shao has been engaged in the collectibles auction market since graduation.

"I think young Chinese today have more opportunities to experience both Chinese and Western cultures, and their aesthetic and artistic perceptions are different from their previous generations," Shao said.

Shao said that sometimes to sort out historical data for collectibles, she would visit online data bases or libraries across Beijing to search for materials. "I felt that I really arrived at that very scene in history. From this job, I have gained and been moved so much," she said.

Gan Xuejun, president of Beijing Association of Auctioneers, said that auction promotes and publicizes traditional culture in the market, leads the public to recognize and attach more importance to the value of cultural relics through commercial activities, and improves people's awareness of protecting cultural relics and traditional artworks.

"Young Chinese serve as a new force connecting the past with the future in the collectibles auction industry. Their knowledge structure is more comprehensive. China's collectibles and artworks market will rely on them to further improve standardization, specialization and internationalization," said Gan.

Nowadays, both auctioneers and traditional museums have stepped into the track of digital collectibles development to appeal to more youths. They digitize their collectibles through original designs and sell them to consumers online, including music, animation, games, hand-made figures, to name a few.

In 2022, a traditional artworks auction company in the eastern Chinese city Nanjing launched nine digital collectibles of painting and calligraphy cultural relics, with a total distribution of 45,000 copies. They were sold out in just two minutes, with a total sales volume of 2.7 million yuan (about $393,000).

According to a report issued by the research firm iResearch, China's digital collectibles market reached 280 million yuan in 2021.

"I will continue my career in the collectibles market or cultural relics protection field, as we, collectibles auctioneers or museum staff, record and protect our traditional culture in our own ways. This gives me a great sense of achievement," said Shao.

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