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Chinese Antiques: New or Old? Check the Drawers PDF Print E-mail

Yuqing Zhao: Hi my name is Yuqing Zhao. Here's my friend John. Welcome to our video series. Behind us are two pieces of furniture and they're in the same type wood. They're in similar style, same type hardware, similar finish. Can you tell which one's new and which one's old? Now I want John to show you from one side, from drawer to tell you which one's old and which one's new.

John Rogers: Okay as Yuqing has suggested, the drawers often offer a real good clue as to which is which. It's not only the drawer itself but it is the extent to which the drawer has been pulled down and used. So the first thing that you want to look for is actually not the drawer itself but whether there's any wear over by the slide part of where the drawer would come out. And I can feel a tremendous amount of wear over here. By wear I mean it just slants down.

If you look at this drawer itself, I can tell that there has been so much wear on this drawer's slide that the slide itself has been replaced. A restoration that is very similar to what happens on American pieces of furniture when the drawers have been used to a very great extent. Look over here on this drawer. Now first of all I feel absolutely no wear on this case piece. So this drawer could not have been in this case piece very long at all because it just hasn't been used. It's just not that much wear.

If you look at the bottom of it, this drawer look simply brand new and there is no wear what so ever on the side. Also if you look at the old drawer you can see wear on the bottom of the old drawer where people have obviously put stuff in and taken stuff out over the course of the years. The patina of each one of the sides and the base and the drawer front is similar, very, very similar.

So it doesn't appear to me that there's been any restoration to the inside of this drawer except for the slide that I pointed out. And the drawer bottom, itself is rough and shows great signs of wear. So that's one of the things that you can play your own detective about. When you're trying to determine whether a piece is new or it's old, remember check out the wear on the case piece itself, check out the wear on the drawer, see if the patinas look the same.

And if they do, you're better educated than you were when you came in the door. On behalf of Yuqing and myself, thanks so much, hope you've enjoyed this video and see some more of them.

Yuqing Zhao: Thank you.