Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art

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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. 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 interactiv

e 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

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The National Museum of Asian Art staff does 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.

Many Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington, DC, including us, are closed today, Jan. 19.The following m...
01/19/2024

Many Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington, DC, including us, are closed today, Jan. 19.

The following museums are OPEN today: both National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution locations, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and National Museum of American History.

Visiting info:

Official website of the Smithsonian, the world's largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, 9 research centers, and affiliates around the world.

Join us January 27th for a case study of repatriations to Yemen, featuring panel discussions and presentations discussin...
01/19/2024

Join us January 27th for a case study of repatriations to Yemen, featuring panel discussions and presentations discussing the protection of Yemen’s cultural heritage. Learn how we can work together to preserve cultural heritage, and view a selection of the objects on long term loan to NMAA for safeguarding.

At the request of the Republic of Yemen government, these repatriated objects will be temporarily stored at our museum, and a selection of them have joined our exhibition “Ancient Yemen: Incense, Art, and Trade,” now on view, until it is deemed safe for them to return home.

Join us for a discussion, tour and Yemeni coffee and tea tasting. This program is free and open to the public: https://s.si.edu/3uTHBgp

01/19/2024

It’s easy to be captivated by Indian court paintings, with their vivid colors and incredible details.

Join our conservator Kesha Talbert on February 15, 2024 for a hands-on exploration of the tools and materials used to make these stunning artworks! https://s.si.edu/41RM1km

Image: Noah's Ark, Attributed to Miskin (active late 1570s–ca. 1604), Mughal, ca. 1590, India, Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 28.1 x 15.6 cm (11 1/16 x 6 1/8 in), National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Freer Collection, Purchase—Charles Lang Freer Endowment, F1948.8

01/18/2024
01/17/2024

The 3rd installation of the World Music Pedagogy online mini-series will be held on January 27. Designed to provide tools and strategies for teachers to incorporate various global musical traditions into their lesson plans, for this next session, Namhee Lim will bring Korean songs and stories to life through teaching the basic percussion rhythms of Samulnori! Use Smithsonian Folkways releases and learning materials in the classroom and leave with concrete tools, including recordings, videos, and music arrangements.

Click here for more information: worldmusicpedagogy.com

The Angel Island Oratorio makes its New York premiere this month, via The New York Times:  https://s.si.edu/3tDhs5sFrom ...
01/17/2024

The Angel Island Oratorio makes its New York premiere this month, via The New York Times: https://s.si.edu/3tDhs5s

From 1910-1940, Chinese immigrants on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay faced massive discrimination due to the U.S.'s earliest racist immigration legislation: the Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Facing imprisonment, many of these immigrants searched for solace by inscribing poetry onto the walls of the detention center.

Composed by Huang Ruo—acclaimed by The New Yorker as “one of the world's leading young composers,” and whose recent operas have premiered with the Washington National Opera—"Angel Island" is inspired by these poems, weaving a story of immigration, discrimination, and confinement, and bringing history into the reality of our current lives.

Take a look back at our centennial and watch the full performance, recorded on May 2, 2023: https://s.si.edu/3ROY5OO

Due to inclement weather, Smithsonian museums in the DC area, including the National Zoo, will be closed to the public t...
01/16/2024

Due to inclement weather, Smithsonian museums in the DC area, including the National Zoo, will be closed to the public today, Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Calling all scholars! The Ebrahimi Fellowship for Persian Art promotes excellence in research and publication on  , from...
01/15/2024

Calling all scholars! The Ebrahimi Fellowship for Persian Art promotes excellence in research and publication on , from the ancient to the contemporary period.

Now open. Apply here or tell a friend: https://s.si.edu/3NxJExf

Your feedback helps us improve your experience!This short survey is designed to inform how we can be more meaningful to ...
01/12/2024

Your feedback helps us improve your experience!

This short survey is designed to inform how we can be more meaningful to museumgoers like you. If you can spare 5-10 minutes, we want to hear from you: https://s.si.edu/41Ui6Ig

To celebrate our centennial, the 53rd   is now available online, with innovative findings on our holdings of Asian art.E...
01/12/2024

To celebrate our centennial, the 53rd is now available online, with innovative findings on our holdings of Asian art.

Explore issues of portability, reception, changing perspectives, and more. Co-published with the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. https://s.si.edu/3H4WYFJ

01/12/2024
Join us every weekend for a tour of special exhibition “Anyang: China’s Ancient City of Kings," and learn about the anci...
01/11/2024

Join us every weekend for a tour of special exhibition “Anyang: China’s Ancient City of Kings," and learn about the ancient capital of the Shang Dynasty and the technology behind its intricately designed bronze vessels and jades: https://s.si.edu/3pBhyb9

❄️ Cold weather is   crafting weather!Learn how our art conservators prevent colors from fading, take a special tour, cr...
01/10/2024

❄️ Cold weather is crafting weather!

Learn how our art conservators prevent colors from fading, take a special tour, create snowflake art, and bring it home to watch it transform in sunlight!

For ages 6-11. Register for free here: https://s.si.edu/3SbnCTO

01/09/2024

“Terrestrial Verses” follows everyday people as they navigate the institutional constraints imposed on them by social authorities in Iran.

Join us January 19th for a free screening, followed by a Q & A session with the directors. Get free passes here: https://s.si.edu/3RlulJe

01/08/2024

The latest fashion always commands attention, which is just as true today as it was in 1672. Ahead of Fashion Week, examine it all up close in “Palace Life Unfolds: Conserving a Chinese Lacquer Screen," before it closes January 28, 2024. https://s.si.edu/3tZDpeR

Part of our collection.

Image: Spring Morning in the Han Palace, unnamed lacquer artists after a design by Sheng Nian (act. ca. 1650–70s), China, Qing dynasty, Kangxi reign, May–June 1672, kuancai (Coromandel) screen, prepared wooden core with lacquer and carving filled with pigment-and-gold decoration, metal hinges, National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art, Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1906.42

Build your career and help us fulfill our mission!Our paid   offer workplace-based learning opportunities for talented u...
01/05/2024

Build your career and help us fulfill our mission!

Our paid offer workplace-based learning opportunities for talented undergraduate and graduate students.

Apply here and tell a friend: https://s.si.edu/3OjNxH0

Join us January 27th for a   "Art & Me!"Learn how to repair works of art, visit special exhibition "Palace Life Unfolds:...
01/05/2024

Join us January 27th for a "Art & Me!"

Learn how to repair works of art, visit special exhibition "Palace Life Unfolds: Conserving a Chinese Lacquer Screen," and make creations to take home!

For ages 3–8. Register for free here: https://s.si.edu/47qX454

01/04/2024

In partnership with Smithsonian Folklife, we welcome artisan-in-residence Gankhuyag “Ganna” Natsag, a Mongolian artist, painter, and sculptor who specializes in traditional mask making!

Join us January 19th to meet Ganna in person, who will offer a lens into Mongolian arts and culture, and explore the ways his masks are used in traditional Mongolian rituals known as "tsam": https://s.si.edu/48A8o02

Too fragile to be displayed, a 17th-century Chinese lacquer screen spent nearly 50 years in storage before a major conse...
01/03/2024

Too fragile to be displayed, a 17th-century Chinese lacquer screen spent nearly 50 years in storage before a major conservation treatment stabilized it for public viewing.

Hear the full story behind this and other objects at our upcoming Cart Talks. https://s.si.edu/3XzMHsG

12/30/2023

2023 was our centennial year, full of meaningful journeys and moments. What was your favorite?

Help us usher in years. See you in 2024!

Lost Oscar statuettes, late-night cab rides, tributes to pop music, women fighting for their families, and ordinary peop...
12/28/2023

Lost Oscar statuettes, late-night cab rides, tributes to pop music, women fighting for their families, and ordinary people living despite societal constraints.

This January, don’t miss the 28th Annual Festival of Films from Iran, a tribute to the cinema of Iran and the diaspora.

Get your free passes and see the full festival schedule here: https://s.si.edu/3RlulJe

✨ 💫  Lighting the darkness.On a pitch-black night, a cascade of golden fireworks, each a glittering blossom, illuminates...
12/26/2023

✨ 💫 Lighting the darkness.

On a pitch-black night, a cascade of golden fireworks, each a glittering blossom, illuminates a group of princesses. The elegant scene is painted with great subtlety. The artist, perhaps Muhammad Afzal, delighted in evoking the play of light. Working entirely with opaque colors and pure gold, he used tiny dabs of paint to create extraordinary tonal effects. On the far right, a woman’s white shawl fades into the night. A row of distant trees is even more mysterious.

During the reign the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah, the subject of elite women playing with sparklers became popular. The princesses may be celebrating Shab-bara’at, a Muslim holiday, or Diwali, a Hindu festival. Both were celebrated at the Mughal court and both, like New Year’s Eve celebrations today, harness the beauty and symbolic power of light.

How will you be harnessing the power of light this New Year's Eve?

Part of our collection.

Image: Court Women Playing with Fireworks, India, Haryana, Delhi, c. 1740, attributed to Muhammad Afzal, opaque water and gold on paper, 18.9 x 11.7 cm, National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Freer Collection, Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment, F1924.6

Would you like to end 2023 with these fireworks?In this print, artist Kawada Kan (1927-1999) depicts the annual firework...
12/22/2023

Would you like to end 2023 with these fireworks?

In this print, artist Kawada Kan (1927-1999) depicts the annual fireworks festival at the Sumida River in Tokyo, where pyrotechnics experts compete to create the most impressive displays. That summer festival has its origins in the Edo period (1603-1868), when fireworks competitions were held over the Ryōgoku Bridge.

Although most firework displays in Japan are held in July and August, in recent years it has become more common to see New Year’s fireworks over Tokyo Bay.

In Kawada's print, the bright colors of the vibrant fireworks are reflected in the glass of the high-rise buildings clustered along either side of the Sumida River. Happy New Year! 🎇

Part of our collection.

Image: Sumida River Fireworks in Tokyo, Kawada Kan, 1994, Japan, ink on paper, 43.2 × 67 cm (17 × 26 3/8 in), National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Purchase and partial gift of the Kenneth and Kiyo Hitch Collection from Kiyo Hitch with funds from the Mary Griggs Burke Endowment, S2019.3.927

Our conservator Ariel O'Connor looks at 3,000-year-old construction techniques in ancient Chinese jade and bronze dagger...
12/21/2023

Our conservator Ariel O'Connor looks at 3,000-year-old construction techniques in ancient Chinese jade and bronze dagger-axes in Science News Magazine, sharing:

"'If an analytical technique such as neutron imaging might answer our research questions but would alter the objects and prevent them from being accessible' due to induced radioactivity, O’Connor says, 'we will look for other options.'”

The technique can complement X-ray scanning and other tools to uncover details of dinosaur fossils, mummies and more.

Join us Jan. 10 for a matinee screening of Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru,” in which an aging bureaucrat with a terminal illnes...
12/20/2023

Join us Jan. 10 for a matinee screening of Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru,” in which an aging bureaucrat with a terminal illness is impelled to find meaning in his final days.

Get your free passes here: https://s.si.edu/48h5pt7

What can lacquer screen restoration reveal about 17th century Chinese history?Find out in this CGTN segment (1:00-5:43),...
12/19/2023

What can lacquer screen restoration reveal about 17th century Chinese history?

Find out in this CGTN segment (1:00-5:43), featuring our exhibition "Palace Life Unfolds: Conserving a Chinese Lacquer Screen," on view through January 28, 2024.

【Chinese Lacquer Restoration】Palatial in scope... restored Chinese masterpiece peers behind the scenes of Han Dynasty royal court.  【Wushu in the United States】Everybody is Wushu fighting... ahead of world championships of Chinese martial art in

On January 27th, we’re hosting “Museums and Cultural Heritage Protection: A Case Study of Repatriations to Yemen,” featu...
12/18/2023

On January 27th, we’re hosting “Museums and Cultural Heritage Protection: A Case Study of Repatriations to Yemen,” featuring experts in the field of cultural heritage protection.

We will discuss the importance of working together to preserve cultural heritage and prevent looting and the illegal selling of antiquities. Join us for a discussion, followed by a tour and Yemeni coffee and tea tasting.

This program is free and open to the public: https://s.si.edu/3uTHBgp

Register on EventbriteFree; registration requiredThis hybrid program will also be presented online w

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