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Online show about the antiques a surprise hit

Updated: 2015-05-21 07:44:28

( China Daily )

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An online talkshow hosted by China's most renowned antique collector, Ma Weidu, has become a surprise hit, with young audiences showing a keen interest in Ma's discussions about culture, history and social events.

Talk About, streamed via Youku.com, was launched in late 2014. Streamed twice a week, it has attracted more than 80 million views and has 200,000 subscribed viewers. It's the 60-year-old's first appearance in an online program, which in Ma's own words is "a bit uncomfortable" because he is more used to talking to audiences face to face.

In the 20-minute show, filmed at Ma's private Guanfu Museum, he opens by sharing his opinion on a wide range of topics, such as culture, history and social events. In the second part, he picks a certain piece from his collection and explains what it is from the professional perspective of an antiques connoisseur.

Developing an interest in antiques collecting as early as the 1980s, Ma rose to nationwide fame in 2008 after his appearance in China Central Television's popular culture show Lecture Room, where his easy-to-understand introduction of antiques appreciation sparked a national craze.

Ma's success as an antiques collector and connoisseur is demonstrated by the opening of his private Guanfu Museum, the country's first of its kind, in 1996 in Beijing. Now, with a branch in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Guanfu has hosted a series of acclaimed exhibitions on a wide variety of themes, such as the ceramics of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, ancient stationery accessories and ancient furniture.

At a special filming in May, Ma met with the show's fans from across the country. He also shared his personal experiences as a literature fan and an amateur fiction writer. Ma published his first short story in 1981. And after that he wrote and produced some of China's most influential TV series in his studio that he jointly launched with renowned authors Wang Shuo and Liu Zhenyun.

He has managed to sustain his passion for writing since 1992 by publishing a series of best-selling books about antiques. In 2008, he was ranked fifth on that year's "Writers' Rich List" launched by Chengdu Daily.

His biggest achievement, however, is having aroused the interest of young people in traditional culture.

At the special filming, his fans - mainly people in their 20s - expressed an unexpected interest in, and understanding of, antiques collecting. They asked questions concerning both practical skills and how young people should be educated to develop a greater interest in traditional culture.

Thanks to its growing influence among young audiences, Talk About has been licensed and will soon be aired on Guangxi Satellite Channel, marking a rare success of an online program finding its way back to traditional TV screens.

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