Daniel Wang’s unique hobby has shaped his life

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Daniel Wang

Daniel in front of a few of his collected antiques!

Senior Daniel Wang has a special talent for analyzing dragons. 

Since he was about eight years old, Daniel has joined his father’s antiquing adventures. Together, they’ve collected porcelain pieces, cinnabar, blue canyon vases, and much more. For years, he’s experienced the highs and lows of searching for priceless pieces.  

The antiques these two collect come in many different shapes and sizes, and because of this hobby, he has had a lot of time to perfect his talent for understanding and examining art on these artifacts. 

“On some bowls,” Daniel said, “you have really fiercely painted dragons; they represent power. On other [bowls], you have tranquil dragons floating in the air and those represent stability. Those [dragons] reflect the priorities of different emperors during the time [the antique was made] and what they valued.”

Analyzing antiques requires an acquired taste. An individual has to be truly tuned into the craft before it becomes as fulfilling as Daniel now finds it to be. As interesting of a hobby as it may seem to the outside eye, collecting and understanding antiques took some convincing for him to really appreciate. 

I used to hate [antiquing]. In fifth or sixth grade, my dad got his first bowl. At that time, he didn’t really like [to antique] either; he just thought it was a decoration. [But once we moved] into my new house, my dad started analyzing [the bowl] and he found it really interesting, and whatever he finds interesting he tends to share with me.”

— Daniel Wang

“I used to hate [antiquing],” Daniel said. “In fifth or sixth grade, my dad got his first bowl. At that time, he didn’t really like [to antique] either; he just thought it was a decoration. [But once we moved] into my new house, my dad started analyzing [the bowl] and he found it really interesting, and whatever he finds interesting he tends to share with me.”

After Daniel and his father began to fully cherish their hobby, the joys of collecting shined in many aspects of their lives. This unique pastime has continuously provided opportunities for the pair to strengthen their bond. 

Beyond the benefits of closeness with his father and unique hidden talent, antiquing has also given Daniel many other exciting opportunities, thanks to the nature of his passion for searching for antiques that have taken him across the world. 

“During the summer, [my father and I] often go to antique stores,” Daniel said. “[We also] usually go to China and there [are] a lot of antique museums filled with these, what my dad would say, beautifully carved and molded bases; some are worth millions of dollars. [These trips are] probably the best memories that I have.”

These adventures have proven to not only be entertaining for Daniel but have also taught him about history and art at an extreme and immersive level—something he’s incredibly grateful for. 

His hobby also enables him to leave trips with not only a new mindset and experiences under his belt, but also allows him to see the keepsakes from his travels every day. Their finds are something both he and his father take immense pride in. 

“Our home is filled with… oh you would not believe [it],” Daniel said. “Everywhere you look there’s a sheet of antiques. It’s like a museum. There’s little [pieces] of jade, but there [are] also vases that are taller than me.”

Although stocking up on priceless antiques isn’t what a younger Daniel expected for his future, he now couldn’t see it any other way. Each unique piece is something he cherishes, but the time spent gathering the pieces is worth even more. 

Despite the impending challenge of the unknown, Daniel does know he wants to continue with his shared passion no matter how far his dad—or the antique stores—may be. 

“I need to start learning even more about these Chinese antiques,” Daniel said. “[One day], my dad is going to stop buying [antiques] and start handing them over to me. My mom always makes the jokes that I’ll be selling them, but I would like to keep them. During college, I would like to go to antique stores near me and send pictures to my dad so he can teach me more.”