Of his­tory

Hong Kong Tatler - - Features -

HE IM­PE­RIAL PALACES,” EVAN CHOW EX­PLAINS, “WERE DEC­O­RATED WITH RICE-WINE BOWLS.” HIS IN­HER­I­TANCE, A LIGHT BLUE CE­RAMIC YUAN DY­NASTY JUN­YAO RICE-WINE BOWL, IS MORE THAN 700 YEARS OLD. FOL­LOW­ING TRA­DI­TION, CHOW’S GRAND­FA­THER HAD DEC­O­RATED THE MANY HALLS OF HIS HOME WITH MORE THAN 1,000 AN­TIQUES HE HAD IN­HER­ITED FROM HIS FA­THER.

“WHEN WE WERE KIDS, WE WENT OVER FOR WEEK­END GATH­ER­INGS. I RE­MEM­BER WE WOULD ASK HIM FOR STO­RIES, AND THIS IS THE PIECE THAT I POINTED TO ONE TIME. HE SAID TO ME, ‘YOU HAVE GOOD EYES; THIS IS ONE OF THE OLD­EST PIECES.’” THE YOUNG CHOW ASKED IF HE COULD EAT FROM THE BOWL, WHICH DREW A LAUGH FROM HIS GRAND­FA­THER. WHEN HIS GRAND­FA­THER DE­CIDED TO PASS ON HIS COL­LEC­TION, CHOW WASN’T SUR­PRISED THAT HE RE­CEIVED THE BOWL. “I WAS QUITE CLOSE TO HIM, AND THIS PIECE IS SIG­NIF­I­CANT BE­CAUSE HE TOOK THE TIME TO EX­PLAIN ITS HIS­TORY TO A CHILD.”

THE BOWL HAS SINCE SAT IN A SHOW­CASE FILLED WITH MANY OTHER IN­HER­ITED AN­TIQUES. IT WAS A WHILE BE­FORE CHOW DIS­COV­ERED ITS MON­E­TARY VALUE. “I WORK IN AS­SET MAN­AGE­MENT AND PART OF OUR REC­OM­MENDED PORT­FO­LIO IN­CLUDES AN­TIQUES. AS A KID YOU WOULD NEVER SEE THAT AN­GLE,” HE SAYS. “THE BOWL WAS PROB­A­BLY AN IN­EX­PEN­SIVE BUY AT THE TIME. WE THINK IT WAS BOUGHT FOR 10 OR 20 DOL­LARS, AT TO­DAY’S VALUE.” AN AP­PRAISAL A DECADE AGO PUT THE VALUE OF THE BOWL, WHICH IS IN PRIS­TINE CON­DI­TION DE­SPITE ITS AGE, CLOSE TO HK$500,000.

WHAT­EVER ITS WORTH, CHOW HAS NO IN­TEN­TION OF SELL­ING HIS IN­HER­I­TANCE; IT WILL BE PASSED ON TO FU­TURE GEN­ER­A­TIONS. “THIS BOWL IS PART OF MY FAM­ILY’S HIS­TORY AND IT ALSO IN­SPIRED WHAT I DO. I WOULD NEVER SELL IT,” HE SAYS EM­PHAT­I­CALLY.

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