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Collecting Chinese Hong Tze

Updated on August 15, 2017
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David collects some unusual things, which he likes to share by writing about and showing off pictures of those collections.

A standard Hong Tze dragon.
A standard Hong Tze dragon. | Source

Collecting Hong Tze

I have been collecting Hong Tze for many years. If used properly, it's said to bring good luck, fortune, and other benefits to the owner. I have purchased pieces of Hong Tze for just the look, but have grown to appreciate all of my pieces over the years.

In my search to buy more pieces of Hong Tze, I have seen people confuse the material Hong Tze is made out of, with other, more expensive materials. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information on what Hong Tze is, except from retailers who sell it themselves. I have set out to set the record straight on Hong Tze, and the other types of materials it can be confused for.

The largest Hong Tze dragon I have.
The largest Hong Tze dragon I have. | Source

Have Any Hong Tze

Do you have any Hong Tze collectibles?

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What is Hong Tze?

Here are some facts about items made out of Hong Tze:

  • Most Hong Tze pieces are made out of a alabastrite poly-resin. The alabastrite poly-resin gives most Hong Tze pieces a deep red color. However, there are brass, jade, and other colors out there for Hong Tze statutes. These are not made out of the expensive and rare minerals out there. Instead, they could be made out of different resins, "red stone", or even plastic that glows in the dark!
  • Hong Tze is available everywhere. If you "google" Hong Tze, then you will find many statues made out of the resin, sold everywhere. There is a wide selection on eBay and Amazon as well. They are mass produced, typically in China, to be sold around the world. You can tell that Hong Tze statues made out of resin aren't rare, as the statues mostly look identical, and tend to sell for less than $20.
  • It's believed that Hong Tze is based on a rare material found in China, called Nanhong Agate. "Hong" means red in Chinese. These two materials look completely different, and Nanhong Agate is considered to be much more valuable than any Hong Tze statue.
  • It's easy to build a Hong Tze collection. Since the resin used to make Hong Tze is so cheap and readily available, then it's easy to start a collection. A lot of people collect Hong Tze because the statues look neat, or for the "feng shui" they provide.
  • It's easy to be fooled that Hong Tze is a lot more expensive than it is. Some dealers will throw out terms like "jade, rosewood-like, etc.", in an effort to increase the value of their product. Don't be fooled. Ask if it's made out of a resin or plastic. See if you can find similar statues on the market elsewhere. While it may be easier to figure out online, you could easily be fooled if you are in an actual store, or at a place that sells to tourists.

A Hong Tze pen cup.
A Hong Tze pen cup. | Source

Overview of Hong Tze

Material Typically Used
Types of Figures
Types of Decorations
Alabastrite Poly-Resin
Dragons
Statues
Faux Jade
Bhudda
Pen Cups
Brass Finish
Animals (Elephants, Frogs, etc.)
Flower Pots
Gold Finish
Foo Dogs
Glow in the Dark
Faux Ivory
Sages
Bookends
Plastic
Warriors
Ashtrays
The material used, type of figure, and type of decoration can be any combination of the above, with more types coming out each year.
Glow in the dark, faux jade Hong Tze figures.
Glow in the dark, faux jade Hong Tze figures. | Source

Tips on Displaying Hong Tze

I've owned Hong Tze for many years, so I have some tips on displaying your collection.

  1. Display according to Feng Shui. I don't know a lot about Feng Shui, but you could always display your collection according to that. The table below gives a bit of detail on the benefits each figure provides.
  2. Keep your hong tez clean. It's very noticeable when dust collects on the figures. It can also be difficult to clean off, but most pieces tend to be durable enough to give them a deep cleaning. Just don't use the dishwasher.
  3. Display in a cabinet. Right now I have my pieces in a cabinet. It keeps them from getting dirty and has them all in one place. It's low maintenance and they consistently look nice.

Part of my Hong Tze collection in a cabinet.
Part of my Hong Tze collection in a cabinet. | Source

Feng Shui Benefits of Hong Tze

Symbol
Feng Shui Effect
Dragon
Power, strength, and good luck.
Buddha
Good luck and happiness.
Foo Dog
Guardians and protectors.
Frog
Brings wealth and wards away evil.
Horse
Brings success.
Turtle
Health and long life.
Sages
Health, wealth, and fortune.
Kwan Yin
Compassion and mercy.
General Guan
Protector and good for buisness.
These are just some of the ways you can arrange your Hong Tze and the benefits it could bring you, according to Chinese lore.
Rosewood chess pieces.
Rosewood chess pieces. | Source
A Rosewood cabinet.
A Rosewood cabinet. | Source

What is Rosewood?

I bring up Rosewood because a lot of Hong Tze statues state they are made out of Rosewood, when they aren't at all. Here are some facts:

  • Rosewood, as it sounds, is a type of wood. Various things can be made out of Rosewood, such as musical instruments, decorations, etc. It's considered to be a very popular material. Of the materials listed in this article, this is the only one that is typically made into large items, like furniture.
  • Rosewood is in short supply due to over-exploitation. This has led to illegal imports on the timber, and caused prices to rise on some of the goods made using Rosewood.
  • Hong Tze and Rosewood can be confused for one another. However, some Hong Tze statues have been made out of Rosewood. The cost would be much higher, and the statue would be much more unique.
  • Most Rosewood products won't be a solid color. Rosewood will have an unusual color pattern to it, unlike Hong Tze, which will have a solid, deep red color. That is the best way to tell the two types of material apart, as Rosewood will clearly look like the better material.
  • Rosewood products will be expensive. The larger the item made out of Rosewood, the more you will spend on it. You will hardly find any Hong Tze statues made out of Rosewood, so don't be fooled if that name is thrown into the product. More than likely it is a Rosewood look-a-like, or the resin, which they just won't state. While small statues made out of Hong Tze can run $20, similar sized statues made out of Rosewood can run into the hundreds of dollars.

Rosewood Guitar

This may or may not be Nanhong Agate.  The materials and sculptures are so rare, that it's hard to find accurate pictures.  However, Nanhong Agate sculptures look similar to this type of agate.
This may or may not be Nanhong Agate. The materials and sculptures are so rare, that it's hard to find accurate pictures. However, Nanhong Agate sculptures look similar to this type of agate. | Source

Own Any Nanhong Agate?

Are you lucky enough to own any pieces made from Nanhong Agate?

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What is Nanhong Agate?

So what exactly is Nanhong Agate and how does it come into play when it comes to Hong Tze? Below are some facts about that.

  • Nanhong Agate comes from a mountain in China. China is the only known country it is located in, and it is considered to be very rare and valuable. The most recent case of this material being discovered was in 2009, in the Liang Mountains. The agate is also very delicate, and is known to crack or break easily.
  • Nanhong Agate, unlike most solid red Hong Tze, can have white in it. As stated above, it is believed Hong Tze was given it's look after Nanhong Agate, but Nanhong Agate can have white swirled into it, giving it a unique look.
  • Most items made out of Nanhong Agate are unique and don't look the same from one figure to the next. The exception to this being beads for bracelets and necklaces. You won't find large figures made out of this agate, so they will be restricted to smaller sized items.
  • Nanhong Agate is considered to be very rare and expensive. Even a small item can run ten times the cost of a large item made out of Rosewood, and more costly than any Hong Tze item made out of resin. Most items you will find being sold in auctions, dealers, and collectors. You will rarely find true Nanhong Agate pieces on Amazon or eBay. Even if a piece is damaged, it can still sell for a good amount of money.
  • Other minerals can be confused for Nanhong Agate. The picture above may be a representation of Nanhong Agate, but then again, it may not. It's a rare mineral, and most dealers and auction sites retain the rights to their photos of items made out of this agate. Most looking into buying a piece of Nanhong Agate more than likely has a professional who can identify the real thing.

Location of Nanhong Agate

A markerLiang Mountains, Liangshan, Sichuan, China -
Daliang Shan, Zhaojue, Liangshan, China
get directions

This is the general location of some Nanhong Agate that was discovered in China around 2009.

Start Your Collection Today

If you like the look of the various pieces of Hong Tze figures I have shown in this article, or just want to bring a bit of good luck into your home or workplace, then start your Hong Tze collection today. It's cheap to start collecting, and can quickly grow. Plus, we could all use a bit of luck in our lives.

Do you have anything you wish to add about Hong Tze? If so, then please leave a comment below.

© 2014 David Livermore

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      A real interesting hub. I never heard of hong tze. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!

    • ilikegames profile image

      Sarah Forester 3 years ago from Australia

      Very itneresting Hub.

    • profile image

      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      Interesting. I've never owned one of these, but I just might start! Thanks!