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Best Ethnic Gift Boutique 


The exterior is pure funk warehouse, down the street from Fantasy Records, where the train tracks on the street play footsy with your tires. Inside, though, Asiantique looks like a warung in Ubud, Bali, all gaily painted umbrellas and old wood. Very old wood. Owners Peter Gaspers and Jill Maier, who started the business fourteen years ago to sell Indonesian handicrafts and furnishings in the Berkeley flats, are branching out in more ways than one. They're planning to open a second location on 5th Street soon, "to expand our range," says Gaspers. They're also bringing in a large container shipment from Tibet and Mongolia. That means that in addition to the Balinese masks, intricately carved picture frames, wayang kulit shadow-play figures, stone Buddhas, and an authentic 16th-century Nepalese carved-wood doorway, Asiantique will have painted Tibetan storage boxes, Buddhas of bronze, and assorted tchotchkes from Inner Mongolia. Ask to see the barong carving, an ancient Balinese good-luck charm for the outside of the house.

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