Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art

Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art We preserve, exhibit, and interpret Asian art in ways that deepen our understanding of Asia, America, and the world, located on the National Mall in Washington, DC. #FreerSackler https://www.si.edu/termsofuse
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Our collections feature ancient to contemporary masterpieces from Japan, China, Korea, Southeast Asia, India, and the Near East. In addition, we have an important collection of 19th-century American art, punctuated by James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room. COMMENT POLICY
Welcome to our page! Please feel free to share thoughts about our posts, ask us questions, or tell us about your visit. We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithsonian's mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. While on-topic discussion is encouraged, we ask that you express yourself in a civil manner and treat other users with respect. The Smithsonian also monitors and may remove posts consistent with its terms of use, as described at https://www.si.edu/termsofuse

Review our privacy policy at si.edu/Privacy. DONATIONS AND INQUIRIES
Freer and Sackler staff do not identify, authenticate, or appraise objects or works of art that do not belong to the museum; nor do they offer advice about the care and conservation of objects. Staff members cannot make statements regarding authenticity or monetary value. The curators’ primary responsibility is to research, publish, and exhibit the collections that belong to the museum.

Operating as usual

Happy #PrideMonth! We’re celebrating by highlighting artistic expressions of sexual fluidity and of gender beyond the bi...
06/12/2021

Happy #PrideMonth! We’re celebrating by highlighting artistic expressions of sexual fluidity and of gender beyond the binary. Though these terms and others relating to the LGBTQ+ community today didn’t exist at the time these artworks were created, there are subjects and stories behind Asian works of art that evoke related ideas. Join us as we explore connections between Asian arts, languages, histories, and cultures for #SmithsonianPride.

#DidYouKnow: Modern Persian, which developed around the 8th/9th century CE, is a gender-neutral language. As such, in poetry, the reader doesn’t know which gender the poet refers to when they speak of their lover—and to complicate the idea further, the beloved could also be the poet's patron or God. Furthermore, descriptions of beauty in Persian poetry are for the most part androgynous, and poets often play with this ambiguity.

This finely tinted drawing of two amorous youths represents both gender fluidity and romantic love, subjects that were frequently depicted in seventeenth-century Iran. Although idealized, the figures and their surroundings resonate with the concept of same-sex love. The artist has relied on carefully orchestrated gestures and poses to evoke the youths’ intimacy. The two have tenderly and sensually embraced in nature, and the ruby red lips of one of the young men seem to anticipate a kiss. The entwined tree trunk, the swirling shawls, and the two bottles in the foreground further heighten the underlying meaning of the composition.

“Two Youths Embracing” in our #ArtsOfTheIslamicWorld collection, https://asia.si.edu/object/F1954.28/. Drawing; ink, watercolor, and gold on paper, Iran, Isfahan, Safavid period, ca. 1630. H x W (drawing): 22.9 × 14 cm (9 × 5 1/2 in)

Happy #PrideMonth! We’re celebrating by highlighting artistic expressions of sexual fluidity and of gender beyond the binary. Though these terms and others relating to the LGBTQ+ community today didn’t exist at the time these artworks were created, there are subjects and stories behind Asian works of art that evoke related ideas. Join us as we explore connections between Asian arts, languages, histories, and cultures for #SmithsonianPride.

#DidYouKnow: Modern Persian, which developed around the 8th/9th century CE, is a gender-neutral language. As such, in poetry, the reader doesn’t know which gender the poet refers to when they speak of their lover—and to complicate the idea further, the beloved could also be the poet's patron or God. Furthermore, descriptions of beauty in Persian poetry are for the most part androgynous, and poets often play with this ambiguity.

This finely tinted drawing of two amorous youths represents both gender fluidity and romantic love, subjects that were frequently depicted in seventeenth-century Iran. Although idealized, the figures and their surroundings resonate with the concept of same-sex love. The artist has relied on carefully orchestrated gestures and poses to evoke the youths’ intimacy. The two have tenderly and sensually embraced in nature, and the ruby red lips of one of the young men seem to anticipate a kiss. The entwined tree trunk, the swirling shawls, and the two bottles in the foreground further heighten the underlying meaning of the composition.

“Two Youths Embracing” in our #ArtsOfTheIslamicWorld collection, https://asia.si.edu/object/F1954.28/. Drawing; ink, watercolor, and gold on paper, Iran, Isfahan, Safavid period, ca. 1630. H x W (drawing): 22.9 × 14 cm (9 × 5 1/2 in)

While it continues to rain here in Washington, DC, we're planning our getaway! Join us to figure out your ideal #SummerE...
06/11/2021

While it continues to rain here in Washington, DC, we're planning our getaway! Join us to figure out your ideal #SummerEscape, right into our collections! Take our #Quiz: https://asia.si.edu/play/summer-escape-quiz/

While it continues to rain here in Washington, DC, we're planning our getaway! Join us to figure out your ideal #SummerEscape, right into our collections! Take our #Quiz: https://asia.si.edu/play/summer-escape-quiz/

06/08/2021
Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past

We're looking forward to the many opportunities that #RaceAndOurSharedFuture will offer for thought-provoking conversations and changes in perspective that will build a more equitable and inclusive future for us all.

06/05/2021
Objects We Love: Preparatory Drawing of the Bodhisattva Maitreya

Take a moment to learn more about this preparatory drawing of the Bodhisattva Maitreya. Listen to Najiba Choudhury, Assistant Information Specialist & Provenance Researcher, as she shares who made this monumental drawing, for what purpose, and how it came to be part of our museum's collection.

Get a closer look at the object on our site: https://asia.si.edu/object/S1998.1/

To learn more about this artwork, explore the following resources:
"Rising to the Occasion" exhibition:
https://asia.si.edu/exhibition/rising-to-the-occasion/
"Encountering the Buddha" exhibition: https://asia.si.edu/exhibition/encountering-the-buddha-art-and-practice-across-asia/
Mary Slusser’s (1918 - 2017) Freer and Sackler Staff Biography: https://asia.si.edu/about/contact/staff/mary-slusser/
Mary Slusser’s article on Kuber Singh Shakya and how the drawing was used: https://www.asianart.com/articles/kubersingh/index.html#21u
SmartHistory video on repousse technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Og8EvH_2mY&t=161s

06/01/2021
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Our #Meditation workshop will return on Wednesday at 12pm EDT. In the meantime, you can practice #Selfcare with our playlist of art-focused sessions whenever you need a pause! Find them all here: https://bit.ly/2RCEDK2 #Mindfulness #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

05/29/2021
Conversations in Context: Organizing

#DidYouKnow: In May 1968, the Asian American Political Alliance was formed and changed the course of #AmericanHistory and #AAPIHistory.

Learn more with Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center & Smithsonian Channel through a series of #ConversationsInContext! #AAPHM

Museum update! The Freer Gallery of Art will reopen on Friday, July 16. Free, timed entry passes will be available soon....
05/26/2021
Visiting the Smithsonian

Museum update! The Freer Gallery of Art will reopen on Friday, July 16. Free, timed entry passes will be available soon. Please check back for updates in the coming weeks. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery remains temporarily closed until November for exhibition construction. Learn more: https://asia.si.edu/visit/

Learn about visiting our museums and zoo.

05/21/2021
Objects We Love: Freer Beaker

Join Massumeh Farhad for a look at a seven-hundred-year-old drinking cup that tells a great Persian love story, also included in a slightly different version in the “Shahnama” (Book of Kings).
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Learn more about this beaker on the museum’s website: asia.si.edu/object/F1928.2

#Smithsonian #FreerSackler #ArtsOfTheIslamicWorld #Ceramics #BijanAndManija #ObjectsWeLove #LoveStory #Storytelling #Shahnama #BookOfKings

We're excited to share that our educational resources on Chinese art and culture [asia.si.edu/teachingchina] are now ava...
05/19/2021
Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art – Smarthistory

We're excited to share that our educational resources on Chinese art and culture [asia.si.edu/teachingchina] are now available on Smarthistory in a brand new format! Our collaboration offers another way to introduce learners at every level to the museum's collections and expertise: https://smarthistory.org/author/smithsonian-national-museum-of-asian-art/
Stay tuned as more resources become available!

#Smithsonian #FreerSackler #Smarthistory #AsianArt #ChineseArt #EducationalResources #ArtHistory #TeachingChinaWithTheSmithsonian

Zhou dynasty bronzes preserve one of the earliest forms of Chinese writing in their simple, highly pictographic inscriptions Square lidded ritual wine container (fangyi) by Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art

#DidYouKnow: Today is International Museum Day (IMD)? Since 1977, this day has celebrated museum communities and raised ...
05/18/2021
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#DidYouKnow: Today is International Museum Day (IMD)? Since 1977, this day has celebrated museum communities and raised awareness of the crucial role museums play in enriching our lives and enhancing our understanding of the world.

“The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine” is this year's theme and it couldn’t resonate with us more! Whether you visit us online or onsite, we want every interaction to be transformative, foster dialogue, and invite inspiring conversations.

In that spirit, explore our Open Access collections: [https://s.si.edu/3w6b5Dk]. People everywhere can now download, remix and share #SmithsonianOpenAccess content for any purpose, for free, from Japanese screens to Indian miniatures to the iconic Peacock Room. Do you have a favorite work of art in our collections? We know it may change tomorrow! Share yours in the comments or tag us in your posts. Happy #InternationalMuseumDay!

Today is Firdawsi’s Day! In 1010 CE, Firdawsi (d. 1020) completed the “Shahnama” (Book of Kings), the longest poem in ve...
05/15/2021
Shahnama: 1000 Years of the Persian Book of Kings | Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Today is Firdawsi’s Day! In 1010 CE, Firdawsi (d. 1020) completed the “Shahnama” (Book of Kings), the longest poem in versified prose ever composed, with over 50,000 verses.

The text narrates the story of Iran from the beginning of time to the Arab conquest in the mid-seventh century CE. As bestsellers of all times, manuscripts of the Shahnama were often profusely illustrated. Learn more about the #BookOfKings and its author with our online resource: https://asia.si.edu/learn/shahnama/

#Smithsonian #FreerSackler #AsianArt #ArtsOfTheIslamicWorld #Shahnama #Firdawsi #FirdawsiDay #IranianArt #IranianLiterature

One thousand years ago, the Persian poet Firdawsi completed one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature: the Shahnama, or Book of Kings. Composed of some fifty thousand verses, the sweeping epic recounts the myths, legends, and “history” of Iran from the beginning of time to the Arab co...

✨Eid mubarak! Happy Eid!Today is Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast, which marks the end of Ramadan. During ...
05/13/2021

✨Eid mubarak! Happy Eid!
Today is Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast, which marks the end of Ramadan. During the whole month, each fast is broken at sunset with iftar. According to tradition, you open the meal by eating dates before performing the evening (or maghrib) prayer. Thereafter the main meal is served! Special dishes are made during Ramadan and each region and country has its own customs. In Iran, you see ash reshteh (noodle soup), qeymeh (meat stew) with baqala polow (rice with fava beans). Tables are also dressed with sweets for families and friends visiting. Popular sweets include zulbiya and bamiyeh, rich in sugar and flavored with rose water and saffron, products that you would buy during the day in shops, like these shown in late nineteenth-century photographs from Tehran and Rasht.
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Images: Glass negatives by Antoin Sevruguin. Iran, ca. 1880-1930, The Myron Bement Smith Collection, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.
[1] Table with sweets in the Gulistan Palace (FSA_A.4_2.12.GN.58.06);
[2] Rasht (Iran): Spice Shop (FSA_A.4_2.12.GN.61.06);
[3] Grocer Selling Food at Market (FSA_A.4_2.12.GN.43.03).

#Smithsonian #FreerSackler #AsianArt #ArtsOfTheIslamicWorld #FreerSacklerArchives #ArchivalPhotos #Photography #Iran #Rasht #Tehran #GlassNegatives #AntoinSevruguin #Ramadan #EidAlFitr #Iftar #RamadanMubarak #EidMubarak #FestivalOfBreakingTheFast

#BroodX is beginning to emerge, but #Cicadas have long been beautifully depicted in #ChineseArt.Read (or hear) this NPR ...
05/11/2021
Brood X Is Back — But Cicadas Have Been In Chinese Art For Millennia

#BroodX is beginning to emerge, but #Cicadas have long been beautifully depicted in #ChineseArt.

Read (or hear) this NPR article featuring Jan Stuart, Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art at the #FreerSackler: https://www.npr.org/2021/05/10/992609440/emerging-cicadas-may-be-creepy-to-some-but-theyve-long-been-revered-in-chinese-art

Learn more from Jan about cicadas in Chinese #ArtHistory in this #Blog: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-asian-art/2021/05/11/cicada-china/

The insects' appearances stretch back 4,000 years, to a time when ancient settlers carved cicadas from jade and put them on tongues of the dead before burial, evoking transcendence and eternal life.

💐 Happy #MothersDay to mothers and mother figures everywhere! The modern celebration of the holiday in the US began with...
05/09/2021

💐 Happy #MothersDay to mothers and mother figures everywhere! The modern celebration of the holiday in the US began with a campaign by Anna Jarvis in honor of her own mother in the early 1900s.
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If you've lost a mother, a loved one, or have a complicated relationship with motherhood, we know this day can be difficult. 🙏 Art can offer a way to celebrate your loved one or to work through your feelings, by appreciating it, or creating it like this oil painting by American artist, Abbott Handerson Thayer.
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Thayer began this group portrait of his children, Gladys, Mary, and Gerald, soon after the untimely death of their mother in 1891. He originally envisioned the central figure, Mary (who temporarily took charge of Gladys and Gerald), as Flora, the Greek goddess of flowers, but as the work progressed he decided to make her a Greek "Victory" figure instead, with clouds billowing behind her like wings.
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The model for Mary's dramatic stance was a famous Hellenistic sculpture in the Louvre, the Nike of Samothrace (second century B.C.E.), known as the Winged Victory. Thayer would have seen that sculpture while he was a student in Paris during the late 1870s, when it was reinstalled at the head of the grand staircase.....Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), founder of the Freer Gallery of Art, purchased Thayer's "A Virgin" in 1893 and hung the painting above the landing in the stair hall of his Detroit residence where, like the Winged Victory in the Louvre, it could be admired from various vantage points. Freer acknowledged Thayer's visual allusion in 1910 by ordering a plaster cast of the Winged Victory to be displayed beside A Virgin in an exhibition at the University of Michigan, along with other important works on Asian and American art from his collection. This larger than life painting now hangs in the Freer Grand Staircase Corridor.
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"A Virgin" by #AbbottHandersonThayer (1849-1921) in our #AmericanArt collection: asia.si.edu/object/F1893.11a-b. H x W: 229.7 x 182.5 cm (90 7/16 x 71 7/8 in)

💐 Happy #MothersDay to mothers and mother figures everywhere! The modern celebration of the holiday in the US began with a campaign by Anna Jarvis in honor of her own mother in the early 1900s.
.
If you've lost a mother, a loved one, or have a complicated relationship with motherhood, we know this day can be difficult. 🙏 Art can offer a way to celebrate your loved one or to work through your feelings, by appreciating it, or creating it like this oil painting by American artist, Abbott Handerson Thayer.
.
Thayer began this group portrait of his children, Gladys, Mary, and Gerald, soon after the untimely death of their mother in 1891. He originally envisioned the central figure, Mary (who temporarily took charge of Gladys and Gerald), as Flora, the Greek goddess of flowers, but as the work progressed he decided to make her a Greek "Victory" figure instead, with clouds billowing behind her like wings.
.
The model for Mary's dramatic stance was a famous Hellenistic sculpture in the Louvre, the Nike of Samothrace (second century B.C.E.), known as the Winged Victory. Thayer would have seen that sculpture while he was a student in Paris during the late 1870s, when it was reinstalled at the head of the grand staircase.....Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), founder of the Freer Gallery of Art, purchased Thayer's "A Virgin" in 1893 and hung the painting above the landing in the stair hall of his Detroit residence where, like the Winged Victory in the Louvre, it could be admired from various vantage points. Freer acknowledged Thayer's visual allusion in 1910 by ordering a plaster cast of the Winged Victory to be displayed beside A Virgin in an exhibition at the University of Michigan, along with other important works on Asian and American art from his collection. This larger than life painting now hangs in the Freer Grand Staircase Corridor.
.
"A Virgin" by #AbbottHandersonThayer (1849-1921) in our #AmericanArt collection: asia.si.edu/object/F1893.11a-b. H x W: 229.7 x 182.5 cm (90 7/16 x 71 7/8 in)

05/07/2021
Objects We Love: Milly Finch

Unwind and explore Whistler’s surprising depiction of Milly Finch with Kerry Roeder, Curatorial Fellow in American Art. To further unpack this watercolor’s hidden layers, take a look at the Whistler in Watercolor online catalogue for new scientific imaging and analysis of the work.

Whistler in Watercolor online catalogue entry for "Milly Finch": https://archive.asia.si.edu/publications/whistler-in-watercolor/object-curatorial-analysis.php?q=F1907.170a-d

#Smithsonian #FreerSackler #AmericanArt #JameseMcNeillWhistler #MillyFinch #WatercolorPainting #ObjectsWeLove

Happy #TeacherAppreciationWeek to #Educators everywhere! We cannot thank you enough for your hard work and how you've me...
05/03/2021

Happy #TeacherAppreciationWeek to #Educators everywhere!
We cannot thank you enough for your hard work and how you've met the challenges of teaching during these difficult times.

#DidYouKnow: The museum offers virtual K-12 field trip programs led by our docents and virtual educators and they can be customized to your student’s grade-level and curricular needs. If you are interested, browse our program topics and reserve a virtual K-12 field trip here at no cost: https://asia.si.edu/visit/live-online-learning-programs/

Take a moment to relax and we'll take care of your virtual classroom!

#Smithsonian #FreerSacler #AsianArt #FieldTrips #K12 #Teachers #VirtualLearning

Happy #TeacherAppreciationWeek to #Educators everywhere!
We cannot thank you enough for your hard work and how you've met the challenges of teaching during these difficult times.

#DidYouKnow: The museum offers virtual K-12 field trip programs led by our docents and virtual educators and they can be customized to your student’s grade-level and curricular needs. If you are interested, browse our program topics and reserve a virtual K-12 field trip here at no cost: https://asia.si.edu/visit/live-online-learning-programs/

Take a moment to relax and we'll take care of your virtual classroom!

#Smithsonian #FreerSacler #AsianArt #FieldTrips #K12 #Teachers #VirtualLearning

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Located on the National Mall Steps from the Smithsonian Metro (Orange and Blue Lines) Admission is free! Open daily 10 am—5:30 pm (except December 25)

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COMMENT POLICY Welcome to our page! Please feel free to share thoughts about our posts, ask us questions, or tell us about your visit. We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithsonian's mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. While on-topic discussion is encouraged, we ask that you express yourself in a civil manner and treat other users with respect. The Smithsonian also monitors and may remove posts consistent with its terms of use, as described at http://si.edu/Termsofuse#user-gen. Review our privacy policy at si.edu/Privacy. DONATIONS AND INQUIRIES Our staff do not identify, authenticate, or appraise objects or works of art that do not belong to the museum; nor do they offer advice about the care and conservation of objects. Staff members cannot make statements regarding authenticity or monetary value. The curators’ primary responsibility is to research, publish, and exhibit the collections that belong to the museum.