I’ve been sourcing for Watertiger for over 20 years, and in that time I’ve had the privilege of spending time in, and sourcing from, some amazing and memorable places. But there are a few that really stand out in my mind, and not just because of the pieces we’ve found there.
One of these standouts, and the place from which our latest container has just arrived, is a small town in the Shandong region of China.
Shandong has played a major role in the history of China since the start of its civilisation. Not only has it served as a pivotal cultural and religious centre, its location is at the intersection of ancient and modern north-south and east-west trading routes.
It’s in Shandong that I came to discover a unique small town. While the overall region is known for many natural resources—from vineyards to cotton and wheat, and precious elements like gold and diamonds—this small section is known for two things: maize and that it’s become a junction for antiques.
The town is dotted with small shop houses that specialise in vintage and antique items, one after another, each with a trove of treasures that have come from various corners of China as due to the intersection of trade routes. Stepping into these shops—where time feels like it’s truly stood still—I felt honoured not only to be there, but also to be allowed to pick from its treasures.
Here, I was able to go directly to the source, rather than via intermediaries, and get close to these ancient pieces personally—ones that are fast becoming scarce, given that their production ceased some 150 years ago. It makes me realise what a privilege it is to be their custodian, and to bring them to you.
From furniture to pottery and ceramics, select pieces are now finding new life here on our shores, where you can pick up these truly one-of-a-kind pieces, ones we may never see again.
I hope you’ll enjoy these in your home.