Juqi Antique Market Adventure

Last Friday, after weeks of planning, Vanessa (@dansmoncrane) and Kristina (@kristinaselhammer) and I carpooled to the Juqi Antique Market (also known as the Ling Shi Road Market) at 5:30am! Yes, it was still dark in the streets of Shanghai and when we arrived there.

We arrived at 5:30 am and there were people zipping past us on motorcycles and scooters, all headed towards this building.

The antique market is located in a building at the back of the Flower and Bird Market, which was not open yet. The antique market comes alive on Fridays only, the rest of the week, except for a few sellers, the place is empty and quiet. Kristina had noticed that on the second floor where we first went, it was mostly men traversing through the stalls, haggling, checking wares, etc. Some had flashlights or special lights to check for cracks on antique pieces.

(L-R) Vanessa, Kristina and me.

Anyways, the whole point of this post is because I wanted to share a little bit about the metal mug that I bought (see below).

What I bought that day

On the front, it has the painted flowers while on the side is actually an inscription. This mug is a sort of trophy for a comrade at a Jiangxi Province paper-making factory, awarded to a man (whose name I cannot read clearly) for being a model employee that year, 1965. Back then, this type of mugs were quite a big deal, more like a status symbol.

Why is this interesting? I guess because it brought back memories of how I used to own a mug similar to this back in 1994 when I was studying at Nankai University in Tianjin. These mugs were still an important part of the household and serve as the one-all food vessel. Because I was spending a lot of time with the local students, I bought one and took this with me to the canteen at lunchtime along with a spoon. Yes, the students mostly used spoons, not chopsticks. They told me it served more purpose that a pair of chopsticks (which was what I brought on the first time I ate lunch with my classmates). Believe me, my mug has served several purposes, including holding any food that I bought outside of the school gate from food vendors, because there was no food packaging then, no plastic bags.

Above all, I travelled with my mug! I used it to make instant noodles, I used it to drink water from, I used it to brush my teeth with, I used it to hold food I bought from outside the train window during stops at some stations, and more.

So as you can see, this story of the mug needs to be documented… the memories I had of those days. You hardly see this type of mug since people’s standard of living nowadays is a far cry from way back then. In the antique market, yes, we found some stalls with a display of rows of these mugs all with different inscriptions from the rail company to various other ones. I’m happy I ended buying this particular one because somehow this one has a story to tell. And now I will go and start putting my pens into this mug!

Thank you for reading.

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