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香港古董及藝廊商會着重公眾教育，以各類活動讓大眾續步增加對古董藝術的認識。在商會的執行委員會成員眼中，「教育」二字在不同層面上有着各自的意義。商會秘書長暨「Maria Kiang Chinese Art」主理人Maria Kiang，她眼中商會的教育工作同時也在填補歷史缺口：「我的專業是『文房』交易，就如一些人的理解一樣，『文房』可被理解為很名貴的文具。自文化大革命後，我們失去了部分的歷史和傳統文化。例如茶道文化原本是來自中國的，只是後來在日本繼續流傳下去…」有說法指茶道始於唐朝，在禪宗文化興起時一同被僧人傳到日本。
另一邊廂商會副主席暨「Rossi & Rossi」主理人Fabio Rossi，亦着力透過教育工作填補新舊藏家和專家之間的缺口。很多處於入門級的藏家新手或年輕一輩，都因經驗不足而不敢和較有經驗的前輩交流。對此現象，Fabio說：「商會其中一個最重要的元素，就是組織講座和畫廊的導賞團。我們也會舉辦晚宴，邀請行內藏家透過簡報進行資訊和心得分享。我們希望這些活動能作為對藏家，尤其是新入行藏家的教育，讓他們在跟新藏家交流的時候能更有自信。」
Hong Kong Antique and Art Galleries Association (HKAAGA) focuses on public education. The association has been orgnaizing various activities to raise public understanding towards antiques and fine art. “Education” has different interpretations at different levels. Maria Kiang, secretary-general of HKAAGA and founder of Maria Kiang Chinese Art, thinks that the educational work has also been filling up the gap in history. “Personally I deal in scholar’s objects, basically really expensive stationary if really want to think about it that way. Since the Cultural Revolution we lost that facet of history and tradition. A good way for one to think about it, that has kept its tradition is the Japanese tea ceremony. Which the whole tea culture originated in China in the first place and trickled over to Japan and it continues…” There is a saying that tea ceremony began in Tang Dynasty and was inherited to Japan by the monks when Zen culture raised.
To Maria, the complexity and delicacy of tea ceremony is exactly what arouse the public’s interest in traditional culture. “You’re always in a small setting with a very small amount of people, maybe three or four. Every single thing that they place on their table has a purpose. On the side there is a space where they have the tokonoma (the host would place ornaments related to the theme of tea gathering on that day, such as hanging scrolls, paintings and flowers. Guests need to give a salute before admiring the tokonoma), which its style and theme would change according to season, taste of the hosts and preference of their guests.” Maria believes that the core value of tea ceremony is not about tea tasting, but the interpersonal communication. “The host can share with the guests about the wares used in their last gathering and changes corresponding the taste of the individual every time. For example, I as the host shared a bowl from Japan, this time I want to share with my guests about the spoons and kettles from China. All the wares belong to the host and every single object has a different story. The meaning of tea gathering is not just a place just to have tea, it’s a place to have dialogue.”
Maria said that everything in every tea gathering is designed for the guests to appreciate the profoundly hidden messages from the host. There are already a lot of details in history and culture awaiting for us to understand only from the field of Chinese tea ceremony, and the culture changes as time passes. Many history and culture are washed way or diminished in the torrent of time. The association members endeavor to seek the roots of the antique pieces one by one and reassemble every history and traditional culture behind each piece. All these histories and traditional culture are to be verified repeatedly and inherited by collectors.
On the other hand, Fabio Rossi, vice-chairman of HKAAGA and director of Rossi & Rossi, also focuses on filling the gap between new and old collectors and experts through education. Many new collectors at entry-level or younger generations are afraid of communicate with experienced collectors because of their lack of experience. In regard to this situation, Fabio said, “One of the most important elements about the association is organizing talks and guided tours to galleries. We also organize dinner and invite collectors to share knowledge and information. We hope to educate collectors, especially new collectors through such activities and make them feel confident that they are talking with people who have knowledge and expertise.”
Fabio has the following advice for the young collectors, “I think young collectors or any collectors who start collecting, the purest form of collecting is when you fall in love with something. You fall so much in love with something you want to possess it, you want to own it, you want to buy it. I think that is always the first step. If you are young and inexperienced, you can do more research on which is the best gallery for this type of material, which are the auctions that deal in this material, what are the prices that these pieces achieve.” Fabio said they always encourage young collectors to visit art museums and exhibitions, maybe some people might lose passion during the process, but of course some people develop a passion and they continue collecting throughout their lives.