Get your cultural gifts with a browsing experience to remember
Mao and More opened eight years ago as a Sinophile playroom of antique furniture, communist collectibles, specialist books and curiosities from Asia and Africa. The emporium was originally focused on the cult of Chairman Mao, but now “we’re getting a bit more into the ‘more’, and less into the ‘Mao’,” says manager Claire Wilcox. Having lived in Asia for 20 years, owner John Williams knows where to look each time he goes back in search of artefacts and cultural kitsch. “Our stuff is odd, eclectic and eccentric and it always has been. You never know what you’re going to see. You can come in one day, and then the next day there will be completely different stock.” Rusty 1940s bicycles from Shanghai and mystic bejeweled Thai altar frames are part of the browsing experience, along with a 20 million-year-old woolly mammoth bone from Nebraska. More accessible items include propaganda posters, hand-painted and varnished parasols ($18), original ornate chopstick boxes ($48-$55) and intricate Tibetan ceremonial hats ($310) with their extraordinarily elaborate silverwork. “What’s special about most of these items is that they are quite hard to find and are only becoming increasingly rare,” says Wilcox. 267-271 Cleveland St, Surry Hills 2010. (02 9699 2700 www.maoandmore.com). Mon-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 11am-6pm.
This tiny little Haymarket store is bursting with Chinese charms, from waving cats and paper lanterns to beaded slippers and lucky gold charms. Shop A3, 410–420 Sussex St, Haymarket 2000. (02 9212 3636).
French garden furniture, colourful canvas deckchairs, and zinc letters and numbers. 7 Nickson St, Surry Hills 2010. (02 8399 1173).
Japanese antiques, art and textiles. 321 Mona Vale Rd, Terrey Hills 2084. (02 9986 1300).
Celtic jewellery, gifts, St Patrick’s Day regalia, Irish groceries, posters, books and everything Eireann. 202 Parramatta Rd, Stanmore 2048. (02 9564 1566).