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Tianguang Fair

Tianguang Fair was a traditional fair in Guangzhou. It began at midnight and ended at dawn, hence its name (literally, "skylight"). Commodities on offer at the fair included used furniture, utensils, cloths and shelves, as well as antiques, paintings, calligraphic works, historic books, and potted plants. The fair reached its peak at the turn of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911) and the Republic of China period (1911-1949). It was a trading center for antiques smuggled out of the imperial court and wealthy families after the 1900 invasion of Peking by the Allied Forces of Eight Powers.

The fair was originally located at Xilai Chudi on Guangzhou's West Changshou Road, Protected by the local pauper gang and Kuomintang police, the fair attracted a lot of antique dealers, members of the leisure class, artifact hunters, and collectors. After midnight snacks, they would arrive with flashlights and magnifying glass to try their luck. They would scrutinize the objects on offers, hoping to find some ignored treasures.

Vendors at the fair included tomb robbers, children of wealthy families and thieves. As most of the objects on offer were illegally obtained, the government shut down the fair. Similar fairs emerged later on Deni Road (present-day West Dongfeng Road) and Zhongshan Ba Road, and remained active until they were closed down when the People's Republic of China was founded. Today, "Tianguang Fair" is generic term referring to fairs opening at night and closing before dawn.

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