06 Jun, Tuesday
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antique shops taxali gate

The Hidden Antique Shops of Taxali Gate

If there is anything that the soulful city of Lahore does best it is the preservation and invigoration of history. Magnificently refurbished havelis. The narrow maze-like streets of the old city. The grandeur of Mughal architecture standing tall against the ravages of time. The marketplaces sprawled around Taxali Gate were witness to some of the most dramatic moments of history.


A Love for Curious Things

This city has an antique soul, poignant and potent, proud in its unique personality and drenched with poetic mysticism. It bears the marks of a great many foreign conquerors and their attempts to rewrite its destiny.  The Taxali Gate market preserves and replenishes history with beguiling offerings from the past.

These are the streets I turn to on my hunt for rare antiques and vintage trinkets. If you’re searching for a delightful treat for your eyes and soul, Taxali Gate has a lot to offer.

I harbor a profound love for all things antique and the stories behind them. Finding affordable bargains is a challenge, even the tiniest trinket often costs me an arm and a leg. Despite that, the greatest joy I have ever known comes from stumbling upon antique shops in unexpected places. That is exactly what happened when I visited The Fakir Khana Museum recently.



Fakir Khana Adjacent

The Fakir Khana Museum is a magnificent art museum run by a family dedicated to the preservation of unique artifacts. There is an antique shop that is tucked beside the entrance of the museum. It is so small that if you blink you might miss it.

As soon as I spotted it I ran towards the tiny little entrance but was quickly pulled away by my friends who had accompanied me here. We had an appointment with the owner of the museum and that had to take precedence over my treasure hunt. As soon as the rewarding tour of the museum came to an end, I found myself back in the shop, admiring all the charm and beauty laid out in front of me.

This shop is run by an old man with a kind face, with support from the Fakir family. I am not sure about the origins of the artifacts he had, but they were pre-owned historic pieces, paintings, and prints of which the family no longer had space or use. The walls of the shop are lined up with rare pieces of antique silverware, exquisite wine decanters from the British era, tiny sculptures, beautifully framed prints, and fine porcelain figurines.


Strange Displays

There is an abundance of charming bronze sculptures and tableware, and I also managed to spot some beautifully sculptured Buddha miniatures, elephant statues, and poppets. The shop was brimming with artifacts and sculptures inspired by the Gandhara civilization, Hindu art, as well as a few contemporary pieces. If you are a collector of miniatures you will fall in love with the variety that this shop has to offer.

The arrangement of the shop’s offerings is rather unique in that it will leave you filled with wonder and mirth. The shelves are jammed with a juxtaposed mixture of artifacts, sculptures, and rarities from strikingly different eras and epochs- an exquisite bronze Egyptian bust next to a stack of vintage cameras, oriental calligraphy and Victorian art hanging side by side.

I adore investing in prints of the old masters, and this antique shop has a lot of variety. I was overjoyed when I managed to scoop up a magnificent print of Dante and Beatrice by Henry Holiday, nestled in an insanely charming rusted wooden frame. It cost me next to nothing and now hangs in my room dominating the mood with its vivid boldness.


Easy on the Eyes and the Pocket

For four to five thousand you can shop a great deal of contemporary art that the shopkeeper is happy to bring from inside the museum. I spotted a glorious variety of oriental art pieces and elaborately painted china and tea sets which I will head back for as soon as my pockets allow.

There is truly so much to enjoy and relish at this lovely antique shop. When I visited again recently the shopkeeper proudly introduced me to a new stock of rarities and vintage charms. I wonder where he collects from but it really doesn’t matter, as long as I can keep bringing back beautiful tokens of art for myself.