|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 64, Wednesday September 27, 2005|
Would you pay Tk 3 lakh for a 250 year old wooden partition that used to exhibit the grandiose of a Nawab or a Jamindar? Does the exquisite art of such antiques attract you and would you want to have any of these in your possession? If you are in the quest for antiques, you will not have to go far - just visit the only market of antique treasures at DCC Market situated at Gulshan- 2.
It was like roaming around in an ancient civilization as the daily necessities were displayed in such a way as to make one lose oneself in that world. In fact these shops posses a huge collection of antiques that include items for building construction, cookeries, furniture, ornaments, statues, masks; made of earth, wood, brass, copper and metal used almost 250 to 300 years back.
The ancient ships items like wheels, compasses, parts of decks, telescopes, watches, metal carafes of wine are the more appealing features of these shops.
One of the salesmen in the 'Haji Metal Crafts' shop was found to be dusting some of the artifacts. Indicating a huge wooden partition, he claimed it to be accumulated from the possession of a Hindu Jamindar of the Faridpur district dating 125 years back and costing Tk 2.5 lakh.
In ' Rukshana Pearls Handicrafts', a petty rounded earthen coin collected from Mohasthangar of Bogra still boastfully declares the sovereignty of the 400 years old Bengal, claimed salesman Raju. He demanded Tk 400 for the coin.
Innumerous items of such antiquity are collected from everywhere across the country. The shop owners have local agents from whom they buy the antiques. Sometimes they also collect these from auctions.
There is no specific season for importing these antique items as none can say when or where to find a good antique. Some salesmen said that old Dhaka, Comilla, Faridpur, Bogra, Khulna provide much of these items. The ships items are collected from Chittagong which are usually imported from Myanmar, India, or China.
The traders engaged in antique business certainly play an important role in preserving our glorious ancient heritage. In reality, they have to undergo much toil for this business, as the market is limited in proportion to investment. They have to maintain liaisons with the local agents. In addition, there is the chance of damage during transportation.
However, these items are highly valued by foreigners. According to Raju who has been working as a salesman for 20 years now, said that 95% of the customers are foreigners. This has been so for the location of the market. Being situated in a diplomatic zone, in Gulshan, people of different nationalities like Americans, Canadians, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and Europeans all gather here.
The foreigners are very fond of ships items. They treat even a trivial part of a ship as preciously as a jewel. Most interestingly, they prefer the antique in its original condition, without any reconditioning done.
" They buy anything they like. It may be either a broken knife or a chandelier," said a sales man.
The price range of these antique items varies from Tk 50 to Tk 5 lakh and sometimes it depends on the bargain made. A tiny metal 'Bhuddha' or 'Vishnu' statue costs Tk 200 while the earthen, wooden statues and masks cost Tk 400. The wooden partition secures the highest rate worth Tk 3 lakh.
" Local people seem to be not very interested in collecting antiques. The reason must be the mounting price rate," said Chandra Mohan Sinha, proprietor of the Kasa Center.
"However, presently a few number of antique lovers(local citizens) do visit the market for buying antiques," he added.
" If local people value these things, the market of antiques will certainly expand. Thus our country may achieve a new identity in antique business," he maintained.
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