Ming Mai’s roots lie in a trip to the Far East in the Fall of 1999 by Jane and John Wills of Santa Monica. In Hong Kong, they wandered into Oi Ling Antiques, a small shop on Lyndhurst Terrace in the famous Hollywood Road district of Hong Kong, looking for antiques for their new home

Oi Ling Antiques, specializing in 18th and 19th century Chinese furniture, is a family-run business spearheaded by Oi Ling Chiang — a renowned expert in Chinese furniture and a member of the Hong Kong Art Craft Merchants Association, Ltd. Oi Ling has also served on the vetting committee of many international antique shows, including the Arts of Pacific Asia Show held annually at the Santa Monica Convention Hall.

Oi Ling has been involved in antique Chinese furniture since 1984, receiving an education in the distinctive woods and craftsmanship of Chinese furniture-makers under the tutelage of her mother, the daughter of Mr. Poon Ping Kong, a well-known collector of antique furniture in China. Mr. Poon’s collection was said to fill up more than three mansions in Guilin, Guangxi province, and was established in large part due to Mr. Poon’s position as the imperial officer in charge of the salt trade in the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.

On that same trip in 1999, Jane and John Wills accompanied Oi Ling on a visit to Oi Ling Antiques' workshop and warehouses in mainland China. There they observed the expert cleaning and restoration process all pieces go through before being transferred to Hong Kong.

Returning home to Santa Monica with several lovely pieces purchased from Oi Ling Antiques, the Wills found themselves eager to learn more about Chinese antiques and to add to their growing collection. Scouting Los Angeles, however, they found nothing that could match the extraordinary beauty and quality they had found in Oi Ling’s shop. Determined to make such exceptional pieces available in Los Angeles, they talked with Oi Ling and her husband Phillip. Shortly thereafter, Ming Mai was born to become the sole distributor of Oi Ling Antiques' distinctive furniture and special collection pieces in Southern California.

The four principals chose the name Ming Mai for its meaning in Chinese. “Ming” enjoys the dual meaning of “brightness” and the Ming Dynasty, the origins of much of Ming Mai’s furniture. Mai suggests “beauty.” Together the two characters mean “the beauty and simplicity of Ming-style things” or “something bright and beautiful” — each of which describes Ming Mai’s incomparable inventory.
































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