Ma Weidu, famous Chinese antique collector
A guest host of a famous lecture program on China Central Television; the curator at China’s first private museum of classic and antique arts; and most of all, an eminent antique collector. Who is this person? Let’s follow our reporter He Fei to walk closer to our hero today, Ma Weidu.
This is a hot lecture program currently in China, held by Ma Weidu on China Central Television. On the program, the master in the collection circle teaches people how to distinguish real antiques from fake ones. He also tells people stories and cultural meanings behind these ancient items and also shares his years of experience with the audience.
As a lover of antiques since childhood, he not only established an art museum based on his private collection, but has also set off an upsurge of antique collection within the nation. As he enjoys the delight that his collections bring him, he attaches more importance to the enjoyment that culture brings.
“In the past, these antiques had no such high economic value but now it’s different. To be honest, we can’t avoid the delight that money brings. However, the most important thing is the meaning behind every antique. No matter what you collect, you should pay attention to its
Fifty-three-year-old Ma Weidu began his collection in the 1980s. At that time, people rarely collected antiques and he just called what he bought “small old items”. The first antique he collected is a porcelain hanging panel, for which he spent 1,600 yuan, or over 200 dollars.
It was a large sum of money two decades ago. Most people couldn’t understand why he spent so much money buying a useless panel when they saved money only to buy a TV or a refrigerator. However, Ma Weidu didn’t care what others thought, and indulged himself in the joy of collection. He remembered once he was moved by the freshness of a white and blue jar after it was cleansed by the spring rain. He bought it without any hesitation.
Though Ma Weidu bought many antiques, he never considers these antiques as his own. He hopes to share his collections with people worldwide. So in 1996 he established the Guanfu Classic Art Museum, China’s first private museum of classic and antique art in Beijing. There amassed exquisite old furniture and antiques he has collected for the past nearly 30 years.
“The aim is to display the antiques to people who are interested in it. We can’t ignore that the antique will die out sooner or later no matter how valuable it is now. We are not simply protecting them but making use of them.”
Not only a curator, Ma Weidu is also a writer. In 2002, he published his first book named Classical Chinese Doors and Windows. In the book, he describes the construction, evolution, and aesthetic significance of Chinese doors and windows. He shared his insights into collecting architectural elements and revealed his outlook on the future preservation of China’s architectural heritage. The book was well received by the public. Ma Weidu believes collecting is a complicated job.
“Collecting antiques needs professional knowledge. Even if you have rich life experience and know many theories of collecting, you may also fail. Humans all have weaknesses and they may be commercialized easily under the force of profit.”
As an experienced yet wealthy collector, Ma Weidu mentions that there are many misconceptions when people rush to collect antiques. Whenever he talks to people, he advises them to refrain from being greedy. In his eyes, it’s better for the mass to adopt the right attitude.
“Collecting antiques doesn’t mean gaining money. You should hold a correct attitude towards it. Wise people won’t follow others but consider the cultural value of the antiques. As long as we find joy from the collecting process, all that we devote is worthwhile.”
That is Ma Weidu, who has devoted himself to the mysterious and charming antique world.