Dr Jan the Collector

Dr. Jan was many a thing to many people throughout Ireland. He was first and foremost a surgeon who travelled to Ireland in 1974, an acupuncturist who brought acupuncture with his wife to Mooncoin in 1980, an army captain, a business man, an artist, a poet, a writer, a storyteller, a teacher, a voracious reader, a polyglot who mastered 14 languages, a master of martial arts, a great cook, a great friend, a husband and a father.
But above all this, he was known as a collector by everyone who had come in contact with him over the past 40 plus years of his time in Ireland. Most patients and friends would have known of his latest adventures to add something to his collection – and those lucky enough over the years would have been given a personal tour and story about each piece he had lying around Pouldrew House.


Dr. Jan had started collecting when he was 6 years old in his homeland of Singapore – and over many decades added to this collection. As with how he saw people, Dr. Jan saw the beauty in each piece no matter how neglected or mishandled they had been over the years and he would leave his impression on them as he did his patients and friends.
The collection offered today has been collected and handled by him in someway over the past 60 years – he had the view that pieces where there to be enjoyed and treated with care – not just put away in a glass case.
So many of these were items were part of his everyday life, strewn on the kitchen table or in his surgery. In his later years he had always dreamed of opening his own museum and therefore proceeds of this sale will go towards the opening of a museum dedicated to his swords and kerises.

Like any true collector, Dr. Jan enjoyed the adventure and art in collecting but knew as with the previous owners, ownership was temporary and early one morning in 2016 he wrote:


Soon I will be gone,
Much like a thief in the night
Stealing away another memory.

I will remember with glee
Those Chinese bronzes
All encrusted with age
The celadons of Yuan
Ming or even Ching
That I foolishly allowed to get away

I will remember the silken tapestries
Those forbidden knots that spelled
A lifetime of darkness for the weaver
And of course never forget
That jacket made for
A young Emperor.

I will smile to remember
That blade made by Mitsu Hira
Another that I misplaced
By Kane Naga
And the thousands that I have handled
Waved and sighed for a lifetime never lived

Then my precious jades
Too many to mention
The mutton fat to the Imperial greens
Dating from the Shang the Han down to that
Noisy workshop in Yau ma Ti of yesteryear.

My kerises
How dare I forget ?
Some three hundred
Many that could talk, walk or even rattle.

When I  close my eyes
All of the above
Will  be chattel
To someone else

But I will leave
With a smile.

“ No pockets in a shroud “
I am, just thankful for the memory.”