HONG KONG – Many antique aficionados, from Hong Kong or overseas, still flock to Hollywood Road in Hong Kong to hunt for treasures of all kinds. Things have changed a little through the years as rising rents have closed shops; however, the hype has returned with the recent opening of the Liang Yi Museum, which in some ways preserves the district’s past, as well as some discerning tastes. And it’s a private museum – a current trend that’s sweeping across the globe.
Exterior view of the Liang Yi Musuem.
The collection started off as a love affair. As the 68-year-old business man Peter Fung described it, “There was this influx of antiques from China back in the 1980s, so I built relationships with local dealers and started studying the things they sold.” Back then, Fung was starting to make his fortune in finance as a banker and as the head of an investment company.
That is the origin of this collection of 300 exceptional pieces, some of which have been shown at Beijing’s Palace Museum, Taiwan’s National Museum of History and Goldsmiths’ Hall in London, and now will be shown in rotating exhibitions in this private museum.
Interior view of the Liang Yi Museum, featuring an extremely rare full-size standing Imperial zitan screen, whose craftsmanship suggests that it is the work of Qing Imperial workshops and dates from the 18th century. This piece was previously exhibited at the National Museum of History in Taipei. A zitan birdcage sits to the right.
Furniture is to the fore in these innaugral exhibtions with entire floors dedicated to huanghuali and zitan hardwood pieces, under the titled theme Ming and Qing Masterpieces: Icons of Antique Chinese Furniture. I couldn’t take my eyes off the simple signature lines of the Ming Dynasty pieces, and if you are fond of the idea of blending East and West, the early European influence on the Qing Dynasty pieces is evident with beautiful marquetry and parquetry.
Renowned Hong Kong jewellery designer Wallace Chan has also played a role here as he started collaborating with Fung’s collection around 15 years ago. So far he has helped to restore the inlay for two chairs, a screen and a table by employing some long-lost techniques.
A minaudière by Van Cleef & Arpels with mirror and lipstick, 1925, coated in red enamel with a rectangular jadeite plaque int he middle depicting a bird amid vegetation. The Chinese motifs surrounding the top and bottom of the plaque showcase both the Chinese and Art Deco love of symmetry.
Jewellery is also prominent in the other exhibition: Shanghainese Deco: Vanities in the Roaring Twenties, using 40 pieces from Fung’s collection from top jewellers Cartier, Lacloche, and Van Cleef & Arpels.
With plans for a travelling international exhibition and education programmes, the Liang Yi Museum is sure to become a destination of choice and forget about time – at least two hours are needed to explore the museum's many treasures.
From left to right: Peter Fung, Lynn Fung, Florence Hui, François Curiel and Sotheby's Kevin Ching, as they celebrate the Grand Opening of the Liang Yi Museum.