Famed antique market welcomes last visitors as destruction looms
By Wang Rongjiang
WITH the final days of the Dongtai Road Antique Market now at hand, customers and collectors are busy combing through its remaining stalls for souvenirs, last-minute bargains and, perhaps, overlooked treasures.
By now, many of the market’s stalls have been closed or demolished. Everywhere, one can see the large Chinese character chai, meaning “dismantle” or “remove.”
According to a posted notice, the market has long been occupying the road illegally and represents a serious risk to traffic safety.
The work of removing and clearing the market began on May 1 and is scheduled to run through July 31. By August, a portion of the road is set to be restored. A vendor at the market surnamed Ma, who has been selling art and curios for over 30 years, has chosen to relocate to nearby Yuyuan Garden. Ma is reluctant to leave the market though, which dates back to the early 1980s.
From humble beginnings, Dongtai Road grew into one of Shanghai’s premier tourist attractions, being listed in numerous guidebooks. In some travel books, the market is billed as one of the city’s can’t-miss destinations, along with other famed landmarks such as the Jade Buddha Temple and Yuyuan Garden.
A foreign shopper carries a bench.
Builders help a stall owner move a porcelain statue of Chairman Mao.
Two foreign shoppers bargain with a vendor.
Ma, a vendor at the Dongtai Road Antique Market for over 30 years, yawns as he awaits customers.
Local residents play mahjong on the side of the road.
Visitors from the US and Canada enjoy themselves at the market.
The daughter of a stall owner does homework next to a display of souvenirs and gifts.