Mark, an Australian intern, has written a blog entry about his fun afternoon roaming between real and fake vintage Chinese products.
Most of Shanghai's old markets are gone, or converted to modern clothes and handbag shops; but if you want to buy or only see traditional trinkets or ancient furniture items, you should go to Dongtai Antique Market. It is one of the last flea markets in Shanghai!
Last Sunday I went there with two INA friends; there were also other foreigners searching some Chinese vintage furniture. Dongtai is spread over two blocks and has many shops selling bronze ware, jade pieces, calligraphy and painting.
I also saw different versions of Chairman Mao’s “Little red book” in different languages and ancient ink calligraphy. Moreover you can also find some souvenirs: scarves, t-shirts, chopsticks and bedcovers.
Don’t be deceived by the stall keepers: most of those vintage items are sold as being authentic, but they aren’t genuinely antiques. Of course, don't forget to try and haggle over the price if you decide to pick something up.
I bought a typical panting portraying Chinese woman. The seller told me that it was really hand-painted, but I am not sure of it. After a long haggle over the price, I got it for 40 RMB!
By going to the Dongtai Market, I was also a good opportunity to experience typical Chinese life. A lot of Chinese families live in the back shops, so you regularly run across men playing cards or Mahjong with a lot of commotion, and women chatting or washing their clothes on the street.
So I suggest that if you have the time, to spend a couple of hours discovering a bustling flea market!!!