Vintage Asian is an art, design and culture blog. An online gallery of vintage Asian design, oriental antiques and art, and retro Asian culture - music, fashion, film. Curated by hand. Memories of memories - each item in the collection has a story. Browse to start the remembering process.

Chinese
Racist Jell-O?

Racist Jell-O?

It’s a wobbly subject. This 1958 Jell-O commercial from America gives us a peek into vintage representations of Asia. Of course it’s not intentionally racist – it was just a product of its time. But racism doesn’t have to be intentional. Some of the most insidious racism can be unintended and arising from ingrained beliefs...
The Dragon and the Phoenix

The Dragon and the Phoenix

Vintage Jewellery Box from Bangkok’s Chinatown. The fire of passion bursts out as these two mythical Chinese creatures meet atop the vintage painted metal box from a Chinese-Thai goldsmith. Musically named Hang Tong Lang Hong is a famous gold shop in the heart of Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown. The Thai term for a gold shop is...
The Conjuring Act

The Conjuring Act

Chinese Vaudeville, Yellowface and Silent Film Magic. Chinese performers were no strangers to the vaudeville theatres, travelling carnivals and assorted entertainment halls of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They performed magic acts, burlesque dances, comedy routines (with exaggerated, self-deprecating Asian-ness) and acrobatics, dazzling audiences from San Francisco to Paris. Some of these Chinese...
In the Tea Leaves

In the Tea Leaves

Proust reclaimed memory in a cup of tea and that infamous bite of a madeleine. I wonder, had he been Chinese, if the memories would have flooded him in a sip of steaming tea and a bite of dim sum perhaps standing in for the pastry. This vintage Chinese tea canister is losing its writing,...
Allyson Chang Yen's Wild Dance

Allyson Chang Yen’s Wild Dance

I don’t know much about Cantonese cinema. This is just one of those things I kind of stumbled upon. And what a serendipitous find it was. Allyson Chang Yen lets loose with a wild dance routine on top of a hypnotic soundtrack to boot. Sure, she might not have the polish to make the Bolshoi...
Vintage Chinese-Thai Sweets Tin

Vintage Chinese-Thai Sweets Tin

Several centuries ago, the first “Thai” people began migrating into Thailand from their homeland in southern China. It started as a trickle. Then when Kublai Khan conquered their kingdom (in today’s China), waves of these ancient Thais flooded into Thailand. But today, those people descended from settlers of centuries ago have lost all vestiges of...
1960s Macau

1960s Macau

Let’s turn back the clock a few eras. Today Macau jet engines towards Vegas-style artificial reality, where each inch of space is a reflection of a reflection of a reflection. China recreating Vegas recreating Venice. Yet somehow every detail is more perfect than the original so that there’s a jarring fakery about the whole thing....
Chinese Teapot and Teacup

Chinese Teapot and Teacup

This teapot is dirty and I like it that way. Sometimes dirt is character. I bought it from an old Thai man who sells antiques. He bought it at a Chinese estate sale. The house had gathered dust for 40 years. More photos…