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Video Interview: Oliver Sun (Creator of Luzuo Furniture Museum)


Oliver Sun is a businessman from Qingdao, China. Mr. Sun is passionate about antiques and antique collections. In 2021, he actualized his dream of creating an antique museum and opened Luzuo Museum to display his and his friends' antique furniture collections to the public.

Anna Sun and Samuel Xin, 11 and 9 years old respectively, are students from Qingdao, China. After learning about cultural storytelling in a summer workshop, they became interested in writing and sharing their own culture.

We suggest that you read this video transcription (with additional information for clarification) while you watch:

Video Transcription:

What made you want to create Luzuo Museum?

It’s a good question. I made the museum just to show the ancient arts and crafts to people.

What inspired you to create a furniture museum?

We can see furniture in our home every day, right? But in ancient China, it was a giant property in every family. It is very beautiful, and it is very luxurious, so I just want to show people how the ancient furniture looks.

There are many museums in Qingdao. How is your museum different from others?

We are the only furniture museum in Qingdao, and in Shandong province. You can see most of the antiques here are furniture.

What does Luzuo (鲁作) mean?

Lu (鲁)means Shandong Province, and Zuo (作)means (works). So Luzuo means Shandong-style artworks. Also, Luban (c. 507–444 BC) is the most famous ancient carpenter from Shandong Province. Therefore, Luzuo also means Luban style.

Is everything in your museum from China? If not, what countries are they from?

Yes. Typically, the first floor and the second floor are the main show floors in the museum. There, all of the furniture is originally from China, from ancient China.

On the third floor, are there any foreign antiques?

On the third floor, we opened a cafe called Museum Coffee. And the furniture in the cafe is very old, more than a hundred years old. It is Western style, not Chinese style.

What is Luzuo Museum’s most expensive furniture?

We have very expensive chairs, and they cost more than several million dollars. This was made about four hundred years ago, and it is made of Huanghuali wood. Huanghuali wood is the most expensive wood in the world. The chairs are expensive not only because of the luxurious wood, but also because they are very beautiful. You can see the line, the shape, and the art craft are really good.

Huanghuali wood chairs

What is the oldest artifact in the museum?

In fact, the oldest furniture is located on the first floor. It is a canopy bed, about five hundred years old. It is a truly Shandong style canopy bed.

500-year-old canopy bed

Do you have an artifact that you are most proud of? If so, why?

I’m very proud of our collection of Coromandel screens (pictured), which I just bought in New York in 2019. It is hard to find Coromandel screens in China now. Most of them are scattered in Europe and America. There are no more than just 200 coromandel screens in the world. Artists and collectors regard them as the top artworks from the end of Ming (1368-1644) and the beginning of Qing (1644-1912) Dynasty.

Do you have a favorite artifact?

The Coromandel screens are my favorite artifact.

How do you make decisions about which artifacts you collect and exhibit in the museum?

For the museum, it should be very beautiful. And it must tell something to the public, especially to young students like you—why it is beautiful, how it is beautiful, and how it is made. With most of the furniture in the museum, there is no way to copy it by the common people now.

How do you collect the artifacts?

We have three different ways: we buy from local people in the antique shop, we buy it from the local auction houses, some in Beijing and Shanghai, and mostly, we buy them in the US, the UK, and in Paris.

How does Luzuo Museum contribute to the community?

We teach the people about the arts, the wood, history, and technology. Many young students like you come to the museum, and our team teaches them.

Did you ever host any community activities?

Oh yes, of course. Almost every week, some students or special teams from different companies come, and we show them the museum. We also give them special tours.

What is your vision for the museum?

In fact, I think we already succeeded, because we already built the museum. But I want to create an even bigger museum because we have more antiques coming.

What is the biggest challenge in managing the museum now?

This year, because of COVID-19, the visitors are restricted by the government [to travel], so not a lot of people came here. I hope next year COVID-19 will pass away, and more people can visit our museum.

Sharing culturally diverse stories to educate, inspire, and empower others

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