Love Antiques? Then this article is just for you.
Architectural Digest with inputs from architects, designers, antique dealers, and tastemakers has complied a list of 25 stores and dealers across India for rare and one-of-a-kind pieces. Read and indulge yourself in the ultimate luxury.
The owners of Royale Treasures have acquired their collection over many years of travel; it ranges from Italian marble statues, Flemish furniture, and French Sèvres porcelain vases to chandeliers, Asian earthenware, garden furniture and figurines. The store caters to interior designers, art lovers and home decorators. Its Alibag branch opened in 2000, in a 4,000-square-foot villa. It has a second branch in Mumbai.
Royale Treasures, Kankeshwar Phata, Bombay Road, Near Sai Inn Holiday Resort, Kihim; 09820802122
DANNY MEHRA’S CARPETS
Danny Mehra is an avid collector of antique carpets, which he has been sourcing for over 30 years from Iran, Anatolia, the Caucasus and central Asia. In his house on Brunton Cross road, one can find a rare pile of carpets dating from the early 19th to mid 20th century. A trip to see these beauties is an exciting opportunity to learn the history behind every motif on the carpets displayed.
Spring Leaf Apartments, Flat H, 3rd Floor, 6 Brunton Cross Road; 09880752554
This 25-year-old store is located in the Frazer Town area of Bengaluru and is packed to the rafters with colonial era furniture, artefacts and lamps. The rarities on display include intricate, hand-carved wooden doors from Mysore, storage trunks, architectural columns from south Indian homes, Mughal-era artefacts, Victorian pendant lamps, gilded French mirrors, and crystal chandeliers. Owner M Liyagath even acquired some pieces for the store from old Indian palaces.
No 54, St John’s Church Road, Bharati Nagar; 080-25522254
BALAJI’S ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES
Established in 1924, Balaji’s Antiques and Collectibles is a family-owned business that supplies and retails a mix of vintage and antique pieces. Old film and advertising posters, fans, records, sculptures, ceramics, mechanical gramophones, collectible watches and tin toys can be found among their colonial and ethnic furniture. They specialize in south Indian works of art and this is reflected in their collection of Ravi Varma lithographs, bronze artefacts, Mysore and Tanjore paintings, and antique maps of India. With thorough research and by travelling extensively, they have acquired rare objects and historically important works of art for the Omega Museum in Geneva as well as private collections. They even supplied period artefacts for A Passage to India—David Lean’s 1984 film.
RAMANIK K SHAH
A restorer and retailer of fine antique furniture and artefacts, Ramanik K Shah has been a strong force in the antiques field for over 45 years. Till date, Shah refrains from using modern methods and tools, steadfastly holding on to old and original techniques of restoration. His multiple warehouses are filled with four-poster beds, trunks, antique doors, and Victorian, art deco and Gothic furniture. An exceptional 15th-century Jain manuscript serves as the highlight of his collection. Apart from the furniture, Shah also has nearly 300 antique money boxes, 70 art deco chandeliers, Chinese glass paintings, African artefacts and Jain iconography. International collectors and museums have acquired many of his pieces.
MUSEUM QUALITY TEXTILES
The Wazir family has been amassing rare collections of textiles for over 50 years. Antique embroideries, block prints, and even readymade clothing and costumes have been sourced from Punjab, the Sindh province in Pakistan, Bangladesh and even South East Asia. AA Wazir, the family patriarch, prides himself on supplying pieces to international museums, Indian collectors and fashion designers. A 150-year-old, hand-embroidered Jain toran (a garland hung above a door) is one of the unique pieces from the collection. Wazir’s knowledge of the materials, techniques and their history is encyclopaedic. It is one of the reasons his clients keep going back to him, not just to buy materials, but also to be further educated about them.
Plot No 107/B, Lotus Colony (Old), Opposite General Hospital; 0283-2224187/09427439671
Since 1929, the Deewan family has dealt in fine antiques, mostly acquired from English estates and homes from the Dehradun region. Jaidev Deewan has a covetable collection of over 30 Japanese Satsuma earthenware pieces. A 170-year-old Satsuma vase, with a multi-coloured enamel glaze and gold detailing, is the highlight of Jaidev’s collection. Eighty-year-old Mintons and Wedgwood ceramics can be found, along with 125-year-old Bohemian crystal and French glassware. The Deewans also have a selection of old statues, landscape paintings, porcelain and glassware.
6H, Astley Hall, Rajpur Road; 0135-2653592, 09897385326
Saudades is housed in a beautifully restored Indo-Portuguese manor in the hamlet of Sangolda, in north Goa. The numerous rooms of the manor home—with its 34-foot-high ceilings—are filled with Indian artefacts and furniture from the British, Portuguese and Dutch colonial periods. The highlight of the collection is an antique Dutch moneylender’s cabinet from the late 1700s made of rosewood and ebony. Both the furniture and the artefacts are affordable and, importantly, great investments.
House No 83, Chogm Road, Opposite Mae de Deus Chapel, Sangolda, Bardez; 08322409873
RAMCHANDER MOHANLAL LADDA
Located in the busy lanes of Laad Bazaar, this is an exclusive store specializing in the famous kota border, used commonly on saris. You will find everything here, from filament work as well as rare, authentic kota work. It’s a
store that’s a hit with both locals and fashion designers like Anamika Khanna and Rohit Bal, who come here to source borders for their creations.
Shop No 1151, Laad Bazaar Road, Mitti Ka Sher, Laad Bazaar; 040-24577170
This is one of Hyderabad’s best-kept secrets—a store that reputedly retails a wide selection of extensively sourced saris. It houses some of the most unique and rare collections of saris—ranging from old Benaras originals to newer ones with intricate brocade work. Some of the shop’s saris feature original goldwork and date back 60 years.
14-7-27/2 and 3, Begum Bazaar; 040-24577170
Established in 1989, by brothers Sunny and Johny Malayil, Crafters is an exquisite antiques shop housed in a 12,000-square-foot warehouse, which was once used for storing spices. Located in the quaint old quarter of Mattancherry, the shop has an alluring collection of Chinese jars, religious artefacts, sculptures, furniture and ancient memorabilia from across the Indian subcontinent. So famous is this Kochi institution that Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, dropped in when they visited the city.
HERITAGE ARTS ANTIQUE STORE
From vintage metal toys and back-painted glass paintings to colonial-era furniture and ceramics, Heritage Arts Antique Store is one of those rare shops where you are bound to be spoilt for choice. Established in 1989, this exquisite antiques shop has a tempting collection of paintings, Indian handicrafts, sculptures, tribal furniture and Christian iconography. Spread across 100,000 square feet, in Kochi’s Jew Town area, the store’s collection is so vast, you never know what you will find there.
A third-generation family-run business since 1968, Madonna Exports is a treasure trove of rich art and artefacts showcasing the heritage of Kerala. The 10,000-square-foot space has a stunning collection of tribal art, architectural columns, wooden carvings, and a collection of over 500 antique masks. Apart from antiques, the family promotes the tribal art of Theyyam with reproductions of figurines and brightly illustrated masks, rendered in their traditional style.
Vi/182, Jew Street, Mattancherry; 0484-2228932
THE ETHNIC PASSAGE
Since 1977, The Ethnic Passage has been operating from a tastefully restored, 200-year-old Portuguese building. The 15,000-square-foot store is filled with furniture, sculptures and vintage objects sourced from all over India. Fine teak and rosewood furniture is displayed alongside Christian artefacts from old churches, and an assortment of small items such as antique spice boxes, wooden plates and spoons, copper scrapers and salt boxes. Antique bronze masks—registered with the Archaeological Survey of India—are the feature pieces of this strong collection.
THE RUSSELL EXCHANGE
Located on the renowned Russel Street, the Russell Exchange is the oldest running auction house in India. Now in its seventh decade—the auction house was founded in 1940—if it were up to owners Anwer Saleem and Arshad Salim, they would ensure it stays in business for another 100 years. Apart from curating rare pieces of colonial furniture, chandeliers and gramophones, they also auction children’s books and vintage clothes on weekdays.
12 C, Russel Street; 033-22298974
Ever since it was established in 1972, Suman’s Exchange has held auctions every Sunday at noon. They bring out their collection of artefacts, antiques and furniture from the warehouses the day before to prep for a sale that attracts art lovers, historians, students, and many hopeful flea-market regulars. It is one of the two auction houses that are still running on Russel Street.
2/1, Russel Street, Kolkata, Near Park Street Crossing; 033-22267572/09831142848
The Saami Ralli (snake charmer’s quilt) from Sindh is available at Museum Quality Textile, Bhuj.
SCHIRAAZ M TANKSALWALLA
In 2002, collector Schiraaz M Tanksalwalla broke away from tradition by holding an auction of rare collectibles from his family’s collection, not in an auction house in his native Kolkata, but at a five-star hotel in Mumbai. Tanksalwalla’s warehouse is next to his museum-like home on Park Street, and is used to display a wide collection, specializing in priceless European and Oriental decorative artefacts and antiques, some dating back to 1775.
87/G, Park Street; 09830766818
MD KHALID FARID KHAN
Compared to the more famous Chor Bazaar in south Mumbai, the Jogeshwari furniture market is far more organized, with a series of stores selling antique and reproduced furniture. With a stunning collection of mid-century, art deco and Scandinavian furniture, the MD Khalid Farid Khan store is a striking contrast to the adjacent competing dealers who tend to retail ethnic and colonial pieces. This small, narrow store features two rows of an assortment of furniture stacked over 15 feet high. If you are lucky, you can even find an entire art deco suite in the back.
8 & 9, Chaturvedi Compound, Opposite Oshiwara Petrol Pump, SV Road; 09870239952
CHANDELIER & FURNITURE HOUSE
The Mansuri family has been dealing in antiques for over 40 years. The collection at their store in Chor Bazaar comprises over 50 antique chandeliers in 4- and 16-light variants. Some of the more popular brands include F&C Osler and Baccarat. The store also showcases a diverse collection of Chinese pottery, celadon plates, crystal decanters and glassware. Their three warehouses in Mumbai are worth a visit as well.
18, Mutton Street, Mandvi, Chor Bazaar; 022-23412378
The 40-year-old store run by the Mitha family is located right around the corner from the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, in Colaba, Mumbai. The store’s ceiling is densely packed with colourful lights in art deco, colonial, European and industrial styles. Ceramic wall plates, crystal decanters, earthenware, African sculptures and French figurines are displayed in a series of glass cabinets and colonial-era display units. You can even scour through dozens of paintings and prints lining the length of the store.
7, Vaswani House, Near Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, BEST Marg, Apollo Bandar Colaba; 09820536095
Hidden in the bylanes of the Amar Chand market in the capital, this large store—divided into three sections—displays decor accessories by Lladró, Wedgwood and Lalique, Raj-era colonial furniture, carpets and paintings. The Kohli family, who own the store, have been collecting these rare finds for over 40 years. German beer steins, African plates carved in bone, and rosewood chairs are some of the more interesting pieces available. Locals take pleasure in the fact that each visit results in a new discovery.
Shop 22, Amar Chand Furniture Market, Lajpat Nagar-IV; 09911952534
THE CARPET CELLAR
This MG Road fixture boasts of one of the largest collections of museum-quality and certified antique rugs. Apart from antique tribal rugs, kilims and dhurries, they have an incredible collection of handwoven textiles and wall hangings. The range covers all four corners of the carpet-weaving map, with pieces representing Iran, Turkey, the Caucasus, central Asia, parts of western China, and India.
Left: A collection of wall-mounted plates in Mumbai’s International Antiques. Photo: Shreya Basu. Right: A porcelain sculpture of a lady holding a mask at Schiraaz M Tanksalwalla’s warehouse in Kolkata. Photo: Ronny Sen
Geethanjali is a third-generation business housed in a 19th-century villa in the town’s famous French quarter. They have an ethically sourced and carefully curated collection of south Indian art and artefacts that includes authentic Tanjore paintings, antique silver objets d’art, four-poster beds, Ravi Varma oleographs and massive wooden doors carved with intricate designs.
Natesan’s was established in 1930 as a little art shop in the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore. It began with manufacturing ivory buttons and gifts, apart from dealing in antiques. Eight decades later, the business shows no sign of slowing down. Different divisions of the company manage their own prized possessions. While the handicrafts division deals with fine pieces made of wood, bronze and stone, their ancient arts division deals in the finest Indian antiquities—comprising bronzes, miniature paintings and sculptures. The company is a government-licensed antiques dealer and plays a crucial role in the organized antique trade of the country.
Established in 1978, Mayur Arts is a treasure trove of antiques—and silver, wood, stone and brass artefacts—which have been carefully curated by owner Hemant Periwal. Of particular note is his collection of Mughal miniature paintings and pichhwais (intricate Rajasthani paintings) collected over a period of time from several royal heirlooms across India.
1, Moti Magri Scheme; 09829042552
The Russell Exchange on Russel Street, Kolkata. Photo: Ronny Sen
You can also scour for antiques in these markets and streets around the country
The Puducherry market on the East Coast Road is known for colonial furniture, antique vessels and more.
Muneeswaran Koli Street in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu is where antique dealers ply their goods, ranging from furniture to artefacts.
Chowk Market in Lucknow is known for chikankari (embroidered) garments, ittars, ornaments and crafts.
The 200-year-old Nakhas market in Lucknow has Spode china, rare antiques and vintage electronics.
The Jama Masjid area in New Delhi has interesting antiquities for sale.
Kolkata’s Alipore neighbourhood—with rows of shops with warehouses tucked behind—is a treasure trove of colonial furniture, collectibles and timepieces.
The Sunday flea markets in Gurjari, Ahmedabad feature an assortment of vintage and antique artefacts for sale.
Hyderabad’s Laad Bazaar is the perfect place to find quaint stools, colourful baskets, silver and pearl jewellery, and Nizam-era curios.
The Jogeshwari furniture market in Mumbai has colonial, art deco, Scandinavian furniture
Mumbai’s Mutton Street has a multitude of shops selling vintage movie posters, cameras, stone sculptures, ceramics, furniture, art deco lights and more.
Article Credit: Architectural Digest
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