Imagine for a moment a warehouse building in Seattle. Antiques are gathered there from Japan throughout the year. Then during two weeks of the year, the warehouse is opened to the public. Would you travel to Seattle for that?
We made our way to Kyoto Art and Antiques for the open warehouse September 27 until October 7. The owners of Country Garden Antiques in the Dallas Design District told us about Kyoto. It certainly sounded intriguing.
We took an Uber from Pike Place Market. We couldn’t tackle that without some bagels, doughnuts and coffee! Arriving at the address we found a big brick warehouse but didn’t see a door. There was a sign and so we were confident we weren’t too far off.
We navigated our way around back and entered a room with items placed on shelving as you might find in the back of an auction house. Each item had ample breathing room giving providing an opportunity to take it in without feeling overwhelmed. Even then we saw things on the second round we didn’t notice on the first.
The biggest attraction seems to have been an area in the middle where kimonos and other fabrics were displayed. We did look briefly but concentrated on the metal, wood and stone objects, as well as art.
There are a lot of hanging metal lanterns, both cast iron and a tin-like material. All are in weathered condition and priced in the $200-$500 range. Not everything here is really old, but most have age and I would guess a good portion qualifies as antique.
There’s also a good many ceramic items; most in wooden boxes. This includes vases, teacups, sake cups and stacks of plates. A few larger vases line the shelves.
There are a number of wooden carvings of varying age. Some are intricate, but the most interesting ones are less intricate, and perhaps older. Other wooden items include ceremonial objects from Buddhist temples.
In the back room, there were quite a few stone items like lions and pagodas. They had an array of garden pagodas priced reasonably. We thought about lugging one home but then decided these were not likely to be that old and there was no reason to go through the trouble of transporting one to Dallas.
There were a number of stone items I wished I could have brought home, however. These include a pair of lions, two small carved dragon columns and some sort of dragon-deaded frog carving. There were also a number of scrolls and room dividing screens, some dating to the late 19th Century.
There are also many lower-priced items like old schoolbooks and boxes.
We left with an inkstone that may be Chinese and a wooden mallet commonly depicted with the Buddhist God Daikokuten.
Kyoto is filled with unique items, and it may be one of the largest selections of older items from Japan in the U.S. While a few may be rare, I would guess most are unique, but not particularly uncommon. But that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to find one like it anytime soon.