I always find treasures at the antiques and curios market at Dongtai Lu, although it involves a lot of ferretting in dusty boxes, and very hard bargaining. This time it was a basket full of old silk embroidery thread bobbins. On some of the reels, the paper brand was just visible – Flying Wheel thread. After all these years the colour of the silks was as vivid as ever – reds, purples, golds, pinks.
Now I can add ‘Wooden Chinese Bobbins’ to my growing collection of things picked up in dusty corners of dusty antique shops. Add them to – a pair of wicker suitcases with really gorgeous paper lining (unlikely to ever get through the rigors of Australian Customs), a set of three long wooden sticks for bashing washing against rocks when doing laundry by the side of a stream (I know those will be useful), a couple of carved wooden molds for making mooncakes, and scores of black and white photographs of Chinese families I’ve never met. Possibly it’s an illness. I should just order the shipping container now.