In late May we decided to sacrifice some sleep and wake up at 4am in order to check out the Ghost Market in Jingdezhen, which primarily features antique and “antique” teaware, ceramics and other artifacts.

Some speculate that the origin of its name is because it originally served as a venue for the sale of stolen items under the cover of darkness. Another possibility is that it hosts many fake antiques that can be passed off easier at night. Either way, everything certainly looked antique, whether it actually was or not.

This market also has its own price code. “1 mao (usually 10 cents or ¥0.1)” equals ¥10, “1 xiao kuai (small ¥1)” represents ¥100 and “1 da kuai (large ¥1)” is ¥10 000.

This is some of what we saw:

1) A collection of supposed antique cups that look like they were buried, then exhumed just for this market.

2) Some old looking wares laid out before the sun has woken up, including a small teapot.

3) Deal of the day: A “Yuan dynasty” bowl for only 3 xiao kuai (remember folks, that’s ¥300 or ~$45USD). Chinese history of the day: The Yuan dynasty took place during the 13th and 14th century, about 700 years ago, yet bowls from this period can apparently be found laying around on the ground of a market for tired people like us to trip over.

4) Fragmented qing hua ceramics. These can sometimes be re-purposed or creatively used in new pieces.

5) A small tea set that may or may not be old. Probably not. Without knowing the methods or materials used to create the weathered and worn look of potentially fake antique teaware, we refrained from purchasing any altogether. We did, however, grab some sweet trays that we’re happy with, genuine or otherwise.

6) Buying/looking and selling/trying.

7) A shop along the edge of the market with plenty of #tea related wares and figurines.

8) Potential buyers and sellers doing their thing. The man carrying the metal canister was particularly interesting. He seemed to be in all places, all at once. We speculated as to his role here, as there can often be individuals whose function is to play that of competition or potential buyer, eager to snap up the piece that someone else is interested in.

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