Himalayan scenes

Golden doors in Bhaktipur

Nepali man playing flute in the mountains

Lamas, young and older, Shigatze, Tibet

A country temple in the Kathmandu valley

Sera monastery, outside Lhasa, Tibet

Incense burner high in the Himalayas


Himalayan Antiques is owned and managed by Paul Morse and Tom Arsenault of Ipswich, Massachusetts. It had its genesis in the early eighties with a leisurely journey through Asia. This is Tom, who's a little camera-shy Already in the antiques business, we had a friend sit our shop in Gloucester, Massachusetts for us while we purchased as many small items as we could squeeze into our backpacks to help offset the costs of a half a year away from home. When we returned that summer and put these exotic purchases in our shop we found they generated great interest and sold so well that it encouraged us to return to Asia to shop more seriously the following year.

Since then we've hardly missed a year and travelling has taken a back seat to shopping. I prefer being on the other side of the camera myself Over the years, too, our buying trips have focused more and more exclusively on what we've been most drawn to: antiques from the Himalayan regions of Asia. We gave up our open shop in Gloucester and moved to the nearby town of Ipswich where we now sell privately to dealers and collectors. In the last few years we have relied more and more on Internet sales where we now meet collectors from around the world.

Nearly twenty years after that first visit we still return to Kathmandu every year. While we grow older, the city seems to become younger year by year. Each return visit is heralded by the disappearance of yet another old landmark as one more ugly concrete building rises in its place. The wonderful handmade items we used to find being sold on the streets or crammed into small shops have grown increasingly hard to find, often being replaced by mass produced new tourist trinkets.

A site of potential treasures and lots of dirt Fortunately, as it has become increasingly difficult to find quality items to buy, by now we have gotten all our ducks in a row: we know where to stay and which restaurants to avoid; we have used the same shipper for years, and most importantly, we know where to shop and where to find what we are looking for. In spite of this streamlining, it still takes us a good six weeks to accumulate enough purchases to take us through another year. We have made many friends along the way and we always look forward to our visits, but we've never since found the time to enjoy Asia at the leisurely pace of that very first visit.

While Paul Morse manages this website Tom Arsenault tends to our one retail outlet, two booths at the York Antiques Gallery in York, Maine. If you are in southern Maine, please visit the Gallery. There you will have a chance to visit one one of the finest multi-dealer shops in Maine and in Tom's booths experience a first-hand taste of what you will see in abundance if you make an appointment to visit us here in Ipswich.
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All photographs are the property of Paul Morse and may not be used without permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, August 17, 2010
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