Bank Clerk Quits Job to Preserve Father's Antique Collection

July 4, 2018  Editor: Xie Wen
Bank Clerk Quits Job to Preserve Father's Antique Collection
Liu Wei [Women Voice]


A finance professional who gave up her job at a multinational firm to work at a cultural museum in southwest China's Chongqing two years ago says she was originally inspired by her father's passion for the subject.

Liu Wei now serves as the associate librarian of Da Yuanxiang Museum.

After studying in the U.S., Liu returned to work at Citibank in Chongqing, rating highly among her employees.

However, her decision to resign was made to extend the wishes of her father Liu Jian, who had himself amassed a private collection reaching the scale of the largest private museum in the southwest area of China.

He proposed to his daughter to look after the antiques and allow them to be appreciated by more people. Thus Liu decided to devote her efforts to them.

The collection mainly consists of wood carvings and stone carvings from the area during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. It includes over 2,000 Buddha statues of different eras and styles, many of which were uncatalogued.

In Liu Wei's view, the collection has become a special achievement. The finances from her father's real estate development have now been fully invested in the protection and preservation of the relics.

She recalls that during one visit in 2012, her father showed her his collection of thousands of doors and carved windows that he had just moved into a bowl factory. "I was too young to know that these were actual cultural relics; I just thought my father liked to collect the scraps," said Liu.

Liu said the relics have gone through a lot in their history. Several of them have been resold many times; several statues have been stolen; and, several have been left overseas.

According to Liu, a gold-plated statue of Sakyamuni was brought back from the U.S. by her father after it had been captured by two Canadian soldiers when the Eight-Nation Alliances invaded China. The descendants of the soldiers displayed it at a farm in the U.S.

After learning about its location, her father was determined to bring it back home.

Relying on numerous collections, the museum has set up a Family Tradition Pavilion, which shows the mottos on the doors to advise and remind people of several family instructions such as fostering a healthy lifestyle, cherishing food and drinking less alcohol.

"We can see from these collections that the ancients paid great attention to family traditions and family training and focused on educating the children and grandchildren on strict self-discipline. They are still meaningful to people today," said Liu.

Not long ago, Liu also opened a Chinese studies course in the museum, where many parents send their children to learn how to use a brush to copy family mottos.

She also hopes to find stone statue restoration craftsman to repair the damaged stone statues and a portrait artist who can make high-quality copies, and copy the paintings on the doors to make a picture album. She also wishes that people can work together with her to protect these cultural relics.

(Source: Women Voice/Translated and edited by Women of China)

Related stories