Downtime: Hong Kong museum tops the tables

In the first part of a new column, Downtime, FinanceAsia visits Hong Kong’s Liang Yi museum, which offers a view of history through the eyes of an avid collector.

Lynn Fung, director of the Liang Yi Museum, is a busy woman. Having closed a special exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum in August, she is working hard to host exhibitions from global museums. She has a lot of space to fill. Despite the modest gallery and the reception desk on the ground floor, the Liang Yi museum is four storeys high and nearly covers a city block.

This private museum on Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, displays her family’s fine collection of Ming and Qing Chinese antique furniture alongside an assortment of European ladies’ vanity pieces made in the finest design houses, including Cartier, Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels. There are also pieces made after the second world war from Russia and the United States.

These collections are open for viewing at the museum by appointment only for  HK$200. For that sum, the visitor gets a leisurely, intimate look at the passions of the patriarch of the family, Peter Fung, who carefully put the collections together in the 20th century. 

Fung encourages her patrons to sit on the furniture and to touch it — something that increases appreciation of the fine craftsmanship and rare wood used. Some of the 450 jewelled boxes, bags and cigarette holders are in handsome display cases upstairs. 

“These exceptional pieces were practical, yet a symbol of femininity coming out of a very turbulent period of history,” Fung told FinanceAsia. “My father bought the first one for my mother who said that it should be in a museum. That might have been the germ that prompted him to collect them at international auctions.”

The furniture, which was used on a regular basis by Fung’s family when she was a child, is enough to complement any special exhibition the Liang Yi museum hosts, Fung said. That should not come as a great surprise: there are over 400 pieces in the collection, from different places and different times.

She remarked that the museum is the family giving back to the community. She said, “The items here are not for sale so people relax a bit and ask questions”.

Visitors could be forgiven for asking the obvious question: Where shall I sit? 

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
Share our publication on social media
Share our publication on social media