Artsy store leaves a Lasting Impression

There are perks to having a art student as a sister. She had to buy a present for this teacher with a very discerning eye for aesthetics, so we couldn’t exactly just hop into one of the megamalls here and get her some trite bath salts. We had to scour a number of galleries and knic-knack stores for outstanding one-offs. As a result, we stumbled into an entirely different, very arty side to Malaysia that I’d previously never been exposed to before; I feel as though I never really knew my country before I left for college!

This week, we went to a small neighborhood mall we call Bangsar Village, which is known for its quirky little one-of-a-kind outlets. One of them turned out to be knick-knack nirvana

Yep, the title of this post was just a bad pun. What else is new? =P

The owner of this place was an Indian lady who was a serious and very knowledgeable collector of Chinese art. There was a certain irony in the way she was proudly taking us Chinese customers around on a tour, explaining the difference between dark and light blue porcelain. Apparently, the dark ones are fairly recent reproductions. Hmm. Just about everything she sold was unique and very, very covetable. I just had to grab my sister’s camera and snap a few hasty pictures; they were the perfect accents for both the home and the blog. Here are a few that caught my attention:

Fragments of 19th century porcelain vases embedded into little decorative boxes. It was hard to pick a favorite, but I particularly liked the one with the pink lotus.

However, this innocuous seeming wooden box put up a brave fight for my attention. It looks perfectly harmless on the outside, with a very cute oriental inspired floral motif with birds. But you only have to open it to discover its surprisingly naughty alter-ego.

Our guide laughingly explained that this particular box was very popular with foreigners. 😉

Among other things…..

A colorful substitute for the loveable English bulldog, as the real thing finds Malaysia's climate unbearable

Dainty boots for bound feet. Ouch.

And lastly, objects of great thematic significance on this blog.

Calligraphy brushes! I think the handles are made of semi-precious gemstones. How’s that for a dash of arty bling?

Overall, this place was quite the find. It was like sifting through a very well-organized Empress Dowager’s attic, which I don’t have to tell you is an experience. I really love outlets like this that set themselves apart from the manufactured mall culture plaguing my country; they have so much more to offer and enrich the senses with. I hope that this undercurrent of connoisseurship will continue to develop as Malaysian wallets get fatter. Viva subculture!


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July 2010
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