An eight-panel screen made of huanghuali and semi-precious stone Northern China • Late 17th or Early 18th Century

WE Chronicle: Liang Yi Museum opens as Hong Kong’s rare antique sanctuary

Liang Yi Museum will soon unveil itself in February as Hong Kong’s first world-class private museum showcasing rare and precious antiques that reflect the East meets West culture of the city.

An eight-panel screen made of huanghuali and semi-precious stone Northern China • Late 17th or Early 18th Century

We have Art Hong Kong, Art Basel and a fascinating legion of galleries, local and international, spanning the city. But ‘private museum’ has always been a undeservingly neglected field – until Liang Yi Museum comes to the scene. With world-class exhibition space and an astonishing archive of rare antiques, the museum to open its curtain in February is without a doubt the most anticipated by industry experts and collectors.

The Liang Yi collection includes one of the world’s largest and best-curated selections of Chinese antique furniture, made of the treasured materials huanghuali and zitan from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Started in the 1980s, the collection has grown to over 300 pieces three decades later. At the Liang Yi Museum, this magnificent trove of Chinese antique furniture will be shown in rotating exhibitions, curated to highlight the many facets and delights of this all but forgotten furniture-making tradition.

For those curious about European history, the Liang Yi Museum also houses the world’s premier collection of bejewelled clutches, compacts and powder boxes. Made in the finest design houses such as Cartier, Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels, these necessaires and minaudieres, glittering with precious stones and showing exquisitely detailed craftsmanship, were once a staple of every lady’s evening wear. With nearly 400 examples from the late 1880’s through to the 1960’s, including some that belonged to  HRH Princess Margaret and local legend Anita Mui, this dazzling collection provides an elegant peek at a bygone era.

Since it was paved in 1844 as one of the first streets on Hong Kong Island, Hollywood Road has been a marketplace for cultural items flowing in and out of China. Situated by the coast at the time, the street was a trader’s heaven, with precious and rare goods found at every turn, brought in by foreign merchants and sailors. In particular, the 1980s saw an influx of well-preserved antiques from the newly opened borders of the motherland. It was during these “Golden Years” that collector Peter Fung kindled his lifelong passion for antiques, steadily building relationships with local dealers who introduced him to the art and intricacies behind these Chinese hardwood antiquities.

Fung’s daughter Lynn, who operates the museum as Managing Director, says, “We would like to present the antiques in refreshing, interactive ways that will help maintain ongoing interest in the past, and keep them relevant to today’s audiences. Precisely because the antiques are so rare and precious, we felt that they should be shared with the community and interested public, and there’s no better or more natural place to do this than on Hollywood Road.”

A square game table made of huanghuali Northern China • 18th CenturyA bookshelf made from huanghuali Jiangnan • Late 18th CenturyA necessaire with mirror and lipstick signed “Van Cleef & Arpels, France” • 1925

Liang Yi Museum
181-199 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong

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