International Antiques Fair 2023's VIP night opens with a bang in Hong Kong

The air was electric with excitement as the International Antiques Fair (IAF) finally returned last night (26 May) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in full force , after a three-year hiatus. 

With a reputation as one of the most significant events on the Asian antiques calendar, the Fair brought together a crowd of antiques enthusiasts, collectors, and dealers from around the globe on the VIP opening night – among them renowned artists and prominent figures from the field of collecting, auction and commerce.

The Value took a sneak peek into the VIP preview night and got an early glimpse into this year's special exhibition.

*IAF 2023 is officially open to the general public from 27 until 30 May

IAF 2023 officially opens in a full hall of audience

IAF's founder and important Chinese art dealer William Chak delivered a speech at the opening ceremony

Distinguished guests made a toast at the opening ceremony

Postponed for three years due to the pandemic, the 13th edition of IAF has been eagerly awaited by art and antiques lovers, with a queue stretching along the walls of the entrance to the VIP preview long before doors opened. 

And in a hall brimming with anticipation, IAF was officially unveiled with an opening ceremony attended by a stellar line-up of guests. Apart from business leaders, esteemed Chinese art dealer and collector Robert Chang and familiar faces in the auction industry, including Sotheby's and Christie's executives in Asia, had as well joined the ocassion in celebration of art.  

*The full list of guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony (from left to right on the photo above): He Yixin, Chairman of WUYI STAR Tea Industrial Company Limited; Li Hongtu, renowned Chinese opera actor and National Class One Performer; Francis Belin, President of Christie’s Asia-Pacific; Migz Zubiri, Senate President of the Philippines; Robert Chang, esteemed Chinese art dealer and collector, Nathan Drahi, Managing Director of Sotheby’s Asia; Nicolas Chow, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia; Ren Zhe, prominent contemporary Chinese sculptor; William Chak, founder of International Antiques Fair. 

Blue-and-white porcelain teacups on display at The Art of Kungfu Tea, Ruoshen Teacup exhibition

One of the highlight events of IAF 2023 is the feature exhibition, The Art of Kungfu Tea, Ruoshen Teacup – which, through over 200 pieces of blue-and-white porcelain tea wares, allows for a glimpse into the artistry and craftmanship of potters from Qing dynasty (1644-1911), as well as the history and art of Chinese tea culture.

Inscribed onto UNESCO's representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, China's kungfu tea ceremony is a time-honored tradition that has been passed down through generations, playing an integral part of daily life for all layers of society. A unique and ubiquitous custom in south China, kungfu tea is about the ceremonial and meticulous way of making good tea, from preparation and execution, to presentation and appreciation. 

In a well-executed kungfu tea ceremony, the tea wares are thought to be as important as the tea itself. Embodying the perfect balance between functionality and beauty, each piece was carefully designed and produced by ancient master potters to enhance the aesthetic and sensory experience of drinking tea, with its shape and size elevating the taste and aroma of the beverage. 

Blue-and-white porcelain teacups on display at The Art of Kungfu Tea, Ruoshen Teacup exhibition

Chinese kungfu tea ceremony

Nathan Drahi (middle), Managing Director of Sotheby’s Asia, and Nicolas Chow (right), Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, experienced first-hand an elegant Chinese tea ceremony

Alongside the special exhibition, this year's fair continues to raise the bar with an exciting line-up of public events, from book launches and a series of tea-related lectures, to tea ceremony and guided tours led by prominent antique dealer and founder of IAF William Chak – all to be held in the weekend. 

This year's fair also marks the return of the well-liked antiques appraisal, conducted by the organizer as well as professionals from the Hong Kong Art Craft Association. 

International Antiques Fair 2023

Dates and Time (Hong Kong local time):

  • 27 - 29 May | 11:00am - 7:00pm 
  • 30 May | 11:00am - 5:00pm

Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre - Hall 5G
Address: 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Free admission for the public