Tea Party

Hong Kong Tatler - - Features -

KAI-YIN LO’S FOR­MER FAM­ILY HOME WAS A TREA­SURE TROVE OF COL­LECTIBLES. “IT WAS EAS­IER BACK THEN BE­CAUSE AN­TIQUES DIDN’T COM­MAND SUCH HIGH PRICES,” SAYS THE ART LOVER. UN­DER BRI­TISH COLO­NIAL RULE, LO­CAL CHI­NESE PEO­PLE WERE ONLY AL­LOWED TO BUILD PROP­ERTY IN CER­TAIN AR­EAS, AND LO’S FAM­ILY HOME, ON THE SITE WHERE THE HOPEWELL CEN­TRE STANDS TO­DAY, WAS “AS CLOSE AS THE CHI­NESE COULD BUILD TO CEN­TRAL IN THE 1900S.” BE­FORE THE HOME WAS DE­MOL­ISHED TO MAKE WAY FOR DEVEL­OP­MENT, HEIR­LOOMS WERE PASSED ON TO ALL THE GRAND­CHIL­DREN OF THE FAM­ILY. LO’S IN­HER­I­TANCE IN­CLUDED A COL­LEC­TION OF MUL­TI­COLOURED PORCE­LAIN TEACUPS AND SAUCERS FROM THE QING DY­NASTY. “MY GRAND­FA­THER BROUGHT THEM FROM SOUTH­ERN CHINA IN THE 1880S,” LO SAYS.

WHILE MOST PEO­PLE WOULD KEEP SUCH PRICELESS PIECES BE­HIND LOCK AND KEY, LO USES THEM REG­U­LARLY. “THEY ARE MADE FOR EV­ERY­DAY USE AND TO EN­HANCE EV­ERY­DAY LIFE,” SHE SAYS, “NOT TO HIDE BE­HIND CAB­I­NETS.” IN FACT, SHE ADDS, THEY ARE “DURABLE AND GEARED TO MOD­ERN-DAY LIFE.”

HOW­EVER, SHE DOESN’T FEEL THE CUR­RENT GEN­ER­A­TION UN­DER­STANDS THE REL­E­VANCE OF HEIR­LOOMS. “THEY HAVE A DIF­FER­ENT WAY OF LIFE,” SHE SAYS. “THEY DON’T AP­PRE­CI­ATE TH­ESE PIECES AND HAVE A DIF­FER­ENT SENSE OF AES­THETICS.” AN AWARD-WIN­NING DESIGNER, LO DRAWS IN­SPI­RA­TION FROM HER HEIR­LOOMS AND FROM AN­CIENT CHI­NESE CUL­TURE. “I MAKE HIS­TORY CON­TEM­PO­RARY,” SHE SAYS.

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