The Colours and Things of Upper Lascar Row Street Market

Photo Essay: The Colours and Things of Upper Lascar Row Antique Street Market

Upper Lascar Row, also known as Cat Street, is a quaint outdoor street market best known for antique shopping. The street market sells everything from cartoon figurines, pre-1997 Hong Kong memorabilia, 1980s technology, old movie posters, porcelain, Buddha statues, and jade gems.

The 1920s in British Hong Kong saw the neighbourhood transform into an open-air marketplace for stollen second-hand goods and antiques. The Cantonese name of the market, Cat Street (貓街 maau1 gaai1), derives from the cat and mouse nature of the street. Stolen goods, also known as “mouse goods” (老鼠貨 lou5 syu2 fo3), are reportedly sold at vendors’ stores; the people who rummage around the markets in search of a bargain are called cats.

Today's Cat Street has a regular flow of regulars and inquisitive local tourists visiting. You can find antique dealers selling Chairman Mao manikins, copper coins, postcards of 1800s Hong Kong, stamps, Qing dynasty vases, watches, and wooden statues.

A Qing-dynasty era smiling Buddha statue sitting right next to a a traditional Confusian lion statue
A collection of miscellaneous American DVDs and CDs, including WWE Raw's John Cena and English band Big Audio Dynamite
A snapshot of Hong Kong's old and new: Qing dynasty concubines, an image of China's most powerful politicos, and Hong Kong's tallest building, the ICC
A common sight at Upper Lascar Row, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung is seen at every stall, popping out in bright and red and in both English and Chinese translations
A collection of postcards and posters of a bygone era in Hong Kong before technology swept the city in transportation
Upper Lascar Row's fascination with Mao Tse Tung is highlighted with this corner shop featuring 100s of porcelain figures of the former leader and his fans
Remnants of colonial Hong Kong can be sourced at Upper Lascar Row, a common sight including postcards of the city's once quiet spots, now bustling neighbourhoods
A small poster of late Leslie Cheung, who committed suicide in 2003, alongside images extolling the PRC's strong military and cultural image
A bald large-headed monk stands atop of a stall, acting as a good charm for business in the street market
Hundreds of A4 maps of colonial Hong Kong are stacked up for customers to flick through, including images prior to the city's mass-reclamation projects

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