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  • “ASIA WONDERLAND” - Boston Globe “You find the most amazing things” – New York Times “Welcome to the world of Asian antique collecting” – Christian Science Monitor “Asia Galleries is truly exceptional in its genre of store” - Newbury Street Guide “A purchase from Asia Galleries comes with a history” - Boston Phoenix “Finest collection of Asian Antiques in the Bay Area” - S.F.” This store has been selling treasures to museums, the trade and public for more than 20 years.” - Unique Places in SanFrancisco, (2006) “The Indiana Jones of Asian antique collectors” - ASAHI WEEKLY Nov 25/07 Tokyo, Japan “There are a variety of rare and unique Japanese and South East Asian Antiques that we do not see in other Asian Antique Shops. A true find” - The New York Yomiuri “MUNDY HAS A SHARP EYE FOR ASIA’S MOST EXOTIC ANTIQUES” A crisp autumn morning in Kyoto. It is just after 5 a.m.,and the first rays of the morning sun are bathing the top of thepagoda of Toji Temple in a golden light. Below, on the usually tranquil temple grounds, dealers are settingup their stalls and shops for the monthly flea market. American antique dealer Rhett Mundy, sporting his trademark GI-style haircut and leather jacket, is already moving quickly from stall to stall, scanning today’s offerings with hawkish eyes. He’s already got some temple bells, a Meiji period bronze vase and a large Shigaraki frog from the early Showa period. Now, near the north gate, he spotsa pair of kitsune, Shinto shrine foxes. He swiftly circles in on them, pullsout some cash, talks to the vendor and closes the deal.”A great buy,” Mundy smiles happily. “My customers will love them.”Mundy’s love affair with Asian, and especially Japanese antiques, startedway back in the early 1980s. He was working then in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward as an English teacher. In his free time, he visited shops andbought used kimonos and other items, “as many as I could carry,” he recalls. After completing his time as a teacher, he traveled throughout Asia, buying more antiques along the way. Upon returning home to his native Boston,”I sold everything very quickly,” Mundy says.”That was thebeginning of my antiques-dealing business.”In 1986 he traveled to Japan and Asia again, and later that year heopened his first antique shop in Boston, Asia Galleries. In 2000 he moved his business to San Francisco. “I always had a passion for travelingand arts,”Mundy says.” I had visited the Louvre in Paris and othermuseums before. “But the beauty of Asian traditionalart objects simply blew me away. I studied and learned aboutAsian arts from books, other dealers or collectors like some Harvard professorswho were customers of mine.” Quickly he gained a reputation forfinding and getting valuable items from very remote areas, from thetropical jungles of Myanmar to the snow-capped Himalayas. During these travels, he has to fight off diseases such as malaria ordengue fever, deal with corrupt customs officials, nurture his network ofcontacts and arrange the shipments of his goods in containers back to the U.S. Twice he has been arrested, in Nepal and by Myanmarese rebels for entering their territory illegally, but someone from the Thai side of the border was sent in and negotiated his release. No wonder then,that a magazine called Mundy the Indiana Jones of Asian Antique collectors .Mundy, however, is very strict about the sources of his antiques …”I never buy stolen goods,” he confirms. “Most museums are full of stolen artifacts,” he says, so he buys directly from the source, often frommonks, or auctions in Japan. His most favorite item is a nearly 3- meter tall black-faced Buddha statue from Myanmar, made of teakwoodcovered with black lacquer. “This statue had some damages atthe feet,” Mundy explains, “so the monks decided to sell it to me.”Actress Gillian Anderson of “X-Files” fame and rock musician Carlos Santana were both interested in this Buddha, but so far the item remainson display in his warehouse and on his Web page. The secret to his success, Mundy says, is “the ability to translate your passion and eye for beautiful and old treasures into someone else’s passion, so they will buy them. You have to know what you are buying, that is the trick. “Since opening his shop in 1986, he spends six months each year on theroad in 15 Asian countries buying, the other six months selling hispieces to museums, antique shops and collectors. Asia Galleries specializes in highend Buddhist artifacts and Asianantiques, “with more and more emphasis on Japan,”Mundy explains.” Kyoto is a great place to relax after the hard travels in Asia, and is myfirst choice to be in the world. It is so easy here, the food is great, it is safeand has a great business environment,” Mundy says. “As I have totake care of my customers in the U.S., so I cannot live permanently here.” For a couple of years he has owned a four-story warehouse on Imadegawa Street, and he just bought a second huge warehouse in Yase a short drive away. Although he has just shipped a container full of Buddha statues, screens and textiles to San Francisco, the warehouse isstill full of furniture. “This one will ship to Boston soon,” Mundy says. “I still have many customers there, so I plan to make anannual month-long show of my antiques there, too.” - ASAHI WEEKLY: TOKYO, JAPAN SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2007 By Matthias Ley.Excerpt from Christian Science Monitor’s article “Orient Expression” August 23 2000. WATCH OUT FOR FAKES “I’m in Asia seven months a year and see entire businesses that just make fakes,”says Mr. Mundy. “There is a huge market for fakes: They are in auctions and antique stores and everywhere.” Mundy and other reputable dealers are trying to educate customers on how to spot a forgery. “They should get a 100 percent guarantee from the original buyer [so] they can get their money back if it’s not as old as they say it is. ” Excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor, 03/03/97

……. For the past 13 years, owner Rhett Mundy has combed Asia’s junglesand villages. Mundy’s travels have taken him from the jungles of Java to the Himalayas of Nepal and the bustling markets of China and Japan. All he does is shop, ship, and sell. His bulging 10,000 square feet warehouse in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood is filled with ornate furniture, ancient Japanese chests, vivid silk kimonos, sinuous dancing maidens, and exotic handicrafts. A walk through the aisles is an adventure itself, occasionally bringing you face to face with a seven-foot demon or a meditative monk. A few times a year, Mundy heads off to Asia with a fat wallet and an open plane ticket. Unlike some of his competition, Mundy buys at the source, not from the middleman antiques dealer in Bangkok or Kyoto, where reproductions and authentic pieces mingle and meld. Mundy has also developed a network of families throughout Southeast Asia who barter on his behalf. In return, Mundy shares a percentage of his profits with them. Recently he was buying old shadow puppets made of water buffalo hide. One by one, family elders visited the tall, blond young man, bringing boxes of mythical warriors, painted maidens, and fierce gods that had entertained villagers for years. He took the puppets, they took the money, and both sides left grinning.” With that money, they can get whole new puppet boxes and keep the art alive. I’ll deal in anything,” he says, patting the head of a 300-year-old Chinese horse, “but I won’t touch living temples where worshippers still gather.” Sometimes Mundy rushes off for a war-zone auction in Cambodia and Burma, where the thunder of artillery can be heard in the distant hills. Here, the sellers might be military commanders who gather up the spoils of war from the territories they conquer. Chinese, Thai, and occasionally American collectors gather there and place their bids. Mr. Mundy is one of the regulars. While he prefers dealing with rebelgroups, even the war spoils of a conquering despot are worth a look.”The piece I buy is either going to rot in the jungle or it will be burned by the military. [If I purchase it], it’s preserved for life.”Here in the US, Mundy’s customers range from casual collectors to Asian refugees.”I sold a Buddha to some Vietnamese immigrants in Lynn, Massachusetts, and they’re using it in their new temple. Same thing with the Laotian community in Lowell,” he says. “It’s cool to be able to help out like that.” Mundy learned the trade by talking with collectors and museum experts, while developing his own knowledge and tastes. For himself, he collects small silk geisha dolls and bronze statues of Quanyin, the Chinese goddess of compassion and mercy. For his customers, Mundy has brought back items as large as an eight-foot stone Buddha or, in one case, an entire wedding hall from Kunming, China, or trinkets as small as a set of finger cymbals.”The key is to buy with your eyes and sell what you love. If you really love a piece, you can sell it,” he says. “You can explain what makes that piece special to the customer.