Wu Bingjian, a Guangzhou trader born in 1769, who was reputed to be the richest man in the world in his day, would probably have had his own collection of automata, clocks and pocket watches. Photo: Roy IssaWu Bingjian, a Guangzhou trader born in 1769, who was reputed to be the richest man in the world in his day, would probably have had his own collection of automata, clocks and pocket watches. Photo: Roy Issa
Wu Bingjian, a Guangzhou trader born in 1769, who was reputed to be the richest man in the world in his day, would probably have had his own collection of automata, clocks and pocket watches. Photo: Roy Issa

Before brand obsession: 3 luxury status symbols crazy rich Asians in 18th-century China loved to own

Long before goods with high-end labels came to be seen as a sign of wealth, rich Chinese coveted items that were stellar examples of uniqueness and craftsmanship

Topic |   Crazy Rich Asians
Wu Bingjian, a Guangzhou trader born in 1769, who was reputed to be the richest man in the world in his day, would probably have had his own collection of automata, clocks and pocket watches. Photo: Roy IssaWu Bingjian, a Guangzhou trader born in 1769, who was reputed to be the richest man in the world in his day, would probably have had his own collection of automata, clocks and pocket watches. Photo: Roy Issa
Wu Bingjian, a Guangzhou trader born in 1769, who was reputed to be the richest man in the world in his day, would probably have had his own collection of automata, clocks and pocket watches. Photo: Roy Issa
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