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One of the 100 Citizen Collectors of Shanghai's First Citizen Culture Festival----Chen Guotai

by:Ennas      2021-12-05

Born in Hong Kong, born in the 60s, Chen Guotai, after graduating from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore, worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, children's art teacher and head of the commercial art design department. However, even he did not expect that in the future The most acclaimed identity is actually a toy collector. He started an antique toy exhibition at the age of 26, published a book collecting Chinese toys at the age of 32, established the world's first Shanghai Toy Museum in Singapore at the age of 40, published the book 'Gadgets' at the age of 42, and invested in a tin toy factory in Shanghai at the age of 43. …Chen Guotai’s obsession with toys made him one of the hundred civic collectors of the first Shanghai Civic Culture Festival. From now until July 21st, the 'Flower Iron King-Chen Guotai Iron Toy Collection Exhibition' specially curated by the Shanghai Mass Art Museum will present the collector's extraordinary 'toy world' to the public. Collecting toys from a 'dreamer' to a 'collector' is the collection of history. Chen Guotai really started to collect toys. It originated from a chance encounter in a bookstore in Singapore. 'That time, I found a set called 'YESTER-DAY OF  TOYS'. The book not only contains hundreds of color pictures of antique toys, but also details the history, age and provenance of tin toys, celluloid toys, etc.... If you turn down further, you will'see' the great collector Teruhisa Kitahara. Let me know for the first time that in a certain corner of the world, there is a toy lover who enjoys collecting toys. Although it was just an encounter in a book, it gave me a map of the door to the future of collecting toys. 'In 1994, after visiting the collection hall of Japanese toy collector Teruhisa Kitahara, Chen Guotai decided to systematically collect Chinese toys and use this to sort out the history of Chinese toys. 'Toys contain history and precious value, and Chinese toys are culture. Because it is the epitome of social culture. Chinese toys are history, because they have witnessed the changes of the times.' From a 'collector' to a 'manufacturer' I want to build a toy museum in Shanghai. Among the toys collected by Chen Guotai, this time The tin toys of China are just a small part of them. In addition to toys such as the iron jumping frog and spacecraft that are familiar to those born in the 70s and 80s, there are also tin toys made in Taiwan, Germany, India and other places that are rarely seen in Shanghai. The time span is quite large, and there are all produced from the 1930s to the present. Asked how to find these age-old treasures, Chen Guotai revealed that antique shops are not the only or the most ideal way to find treasures. In the six years from 1991 to 1997, he found many old toys. 'In addition to luck, it also depends on how large my network is and the understanding of toy history.' Chen Guotai told reporters that at the time when the ability, time and funds were insufficient, he planned several cross-border Taobao routes based on the history of Chinese toy export, and cast nets across Asia and Europe. Of course, as the 'leader' of China's tin toy production, Shanghai is also an important stop for Chen Guotai's Taobao. He revealed that in his early years, he was attracted by a slightly rustic-looking iron-skinned space tank, and 'Shanghai Kangyuan Toy Factory' came into view for the first time. This impulsive young man had the idea of u200bu200bgoing to Shanghai to find roots for old toys. In the early 1990s, there was no internet and no direct dial telephones. To make international calls, you had to pass through the operator of the Singapore Telephone Exchange. During the long wait, the first search brought Chen Guotai disappointment. He I don't know that this old toy factory has long been renamed 'Shanghai No. 2 Toy Factory'. He continued to inquire with perseverance and wrote letters to the factory sincerely... In 1992, this Hong Konger who could not even speak Mandarin came to Shanghai for the first time and appeared at the Shanghai Toys No. 2 Factory. Chen Guotai told reporters that he also found Shanghai Toys Fifth Factory on Qiujiang Road through the Yellow Pages phone book. This visit confirmed his idea of u200bu200bfocusing on collecting Chinese tin toys. Since then, every time he comes to Shanghai, he likes to go to the flea markets near Fuyou Road and Dongtai Road to 'taobao' frantically. He has gained a lot, from traditional folk toys to modern toys such as the card games produced during the Xuantong period of the Qing Dynasty, from 1910. From the simple non-motorized tin toys of the 1950s to the voice-activated toys of the 1960s and 1970s, etc. In 2008, Chen Guotai combined toy collection with his personal career and founded his own trendy tin toy brand in Shanghai. When the reporter asked, today’s children are accustomed to growing up with an iPad in their arms, will they accept the old-style tin toys? In this regard, Chen Guotai is not worried, 'My tin toys are not as simple as iPads! They have temperature and life. For every child, tin toys are childhood playmates. Every toy is It is the memory of childhood memories!' He told reporters that for various reasons, the Shanghai Toy Museum previously opened in Singapore has been closed. He hopes that one day he can continue his dream and build a toy museum in Shanghai.
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