Shown above is one third of the cartons of 1940-1960 Asian kitschy figurines stacked in my apartment above the shop. Those that are not vintage were left out to be given away. The ones for the shop are this type:
How can I display these in a way which would encourage customers to see that a collection of these would be colorful and fun?
The rainbow display is trendy and modern. The colors of the 40s and 50s were various shades of maroon, Chartreuse, dark green, pink, red, yellow, turquoise, black and white.
I like this Chinese boy bookend shown in this person’s collection mixed with natural specimens, a gourd and books. There are bookends in the cartons. I can’t imagine how the braid was never broken.
I am picking up 24 printer trays next week so I can fill a couple of the trays with the three-inch statues. The plan is to use Velcro Dots to adhere them inside the tray.
When my friend Frank was a child in the 1930s, his grandfather walked with him through Chinatown in Chicago. It was an exotic place and his hand was securely held within his grandfather’s larger one. One day, Frank’s grandfather stopped in front of a shop to converse with someone and that placed Frank directly in a shop doorway. Looking deep within the dark shop, he saw an old Chinese man sitting in the back room. The man wore a long Chinese robe, had a long braid, sprouted long fingernails and was smoking a long pipe. He returned Frank’s stare. So, why did Frank begin to collect Chinese and Japanese figurines? Because they remind him of the feeling he had that day. It is the memory of being afraid of the old man and yet, not afraid, because his hand was within his grandfather’s hand.
Frank is a Korean War Veteran. After returning home, he signed up again and spent years, 140 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska. When he came back to Illinois he worked for 30+ years in the railroad yards. This is a man who isn’t afraid of much. His collection reminds me that inside all of us, even the biggest of men, is the child we once were.
No one in Frank’s family wants his collection which is how they came to Fox and Finch. I like them. I remember seeing them everywhere when I was a child. Stay tuned to see how I decide to display them.
Lucille Ball on the set of I Love Lucy standing with her “Oriental” figurines.