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Life in the Years / Years in the Life

June 19, 2017 2 min read

Over the years I’ve come to see that age alone is not a virtue. Not for people – and not for collectible antiques.

It goes without saying that the object must have innate beauty because if that were not present, we would feel no attraction or desire to possess it. If age were the only criterion my shelves would be overflowing with ordinary stones as these are perhaps the oldest discrete objects I encounter.

Age AND beauty.

But there is a one more factor that also adds to the attraction of the object (in my view).

It is the experiences that it has lived through that are embedded forever in it. Our eyes cannot ‘see’ these as they are invisibly embedded but our our minds can. And because the width and depth of these experiences  increases with the passage of time, age is usually a good metric to measure these with.

It is the life that the object has lived within its culture – the ceremonies, the lifestyle, the cultural history that it has participated in heartily that gives it much of its character.

And this aspect makes it absolutely precious.

For when it separates from its own setting and enters my life, it brings with it the ethos and atmosphere of another time, another place and an alternate lifestyle – and it is THAT which I am seeking – it is that alternateness that drives me.

To live many lives within this one life. At least through these bits and pieces for faraway.

“It’s not the years in the life that matter – it is the life in the years that count”


Here is an example:

Antique Buddhist Monastery Thangka from Mongolia or Tibet pre 17th century or earlier

In terms of the work that went in to creating this Thangka from Mongolia it is beautiful but not extraordinary.

But the life lived within the monastery is evident through the character of the darkening. The incense, the smoke from the butter lamps all filling the room in which this was hung made it this way. It evokes visions of a dimly lit monastery filled with chanting of a thousand monks sitting in austere discipline and living out their calling.

THAT is the magic in this piece that a new piece simply cannot have.

And that is the true value of this piece.

As far as dollars are concerned – we just fix something arbitrary for commerce. But that is trivial and has nothing to do with it’s value.


See more of Asset 1111 here:

Antique Buddhist Monastery Thangka from Mongolia or Tibet pre 17th century or earlier



July 2017











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