In order to increase his knowledge of cultural relics, Ma Weidu went to see the real things in museums. At that time, he went to each of the museums, visiting the ceramics section of the National Palace Museum every day. Because the light in the exhibition hall was relatively dim, Ma Weidu had to take a flashlight every time, and he would stay there for a couple of hours each time. After a long time, Ma Weidu had memorized each item.
On one occasion, Ma Weidu found someone had moved a porcelain vase in the exhibition hall, so he told the staff about it. The staff did not believe him, but Ma Weidu was very sure. The staff did not believe that Ma Weidu was that clever, so he went and asked others about it. It turned out that when another staff member was on duty, some people moved it to take some photographs. Ma Weidu said: in fact it is very simple: when that article of porcelain was placed there, I could only see three sides of it, and I had always wanted to see the other side, but had been unable to do so. Finally I saw the back of it the other day, so I took it as a matter of course. Ma Weidu was very inexperienced when he started collecting. Evidence of this is the 1,600 yuan he spent on a four-leaf screen in 1982. A colleague told him that he had been ripped off. In fact, he could get it for a mere 400 yuan. Despite this, Ma Weidu took a fancy to the porcelain elements of the four-leaf screen: inlaid Jun Porcelain, most of which were Jun-Porcelain pieces, as well as pieces of Song Dynasty Jun-Porcelain.
This was not the only relatively large sum of money that Ma spent on items at the time. On one occasion, Ma Weidu got a porcelain jar for over 100 yuan at a stall near the Yuyuantan Park. Excited, he took the jar to his workplace, and from time to time, he took it out and looked at it. His colleagues were so curious that they all surrounded him to have a look, puzzled why he spent 100 yuan on it. In fact, that porcelain jar was from the Ming Dynasty.
On another occasion, Ma Weidu spent 15 yuan on a cap holder from the middle of the Qing Dynasty. The caps of the Manchu people of the Qing Dynasty were very exquisite, and their tail feathers showed their official positions. Before the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty, the caps were placed on wooden racks after being taken off. Cap holders appeared after the middle of the Qing Dynasty. These were vertical porcelain tubes. Cap holders could be counted as important furnishings, as people paid a great deal of respect to caps. By the late Qing Dynasty, cap holders had become very popular.