Top Ten Asian Museums

Top Ten Asian Museums

  1. Palace Museum, Beijing, China

    The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government. Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 square m (7,800,000 sq ft). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Part of the museum’s former collection is now located in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both museums descend from the same institution, but were split after the Chinese Civil War.
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  2. National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

    The National Palace Museum is an art museum in Taipei, Taiwan. It is the national museum of the Republic of China, and has a permanent collection of over 677,687 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest in the world. The collection encompasses over 8,000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic age to the late Qing dynasty. Most of the collection are high quality pieces collected by China’s ancient emperors. In 2008, it was the 15th most visited museum in the world. The National Palace Museum and Palace Museum, located inside the Forbidden City in China, share the same original roots, which was split in two as a result of the Chinese Civil War.
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  3. Shanghai Museum, China

           The Shanghai Museum is a museum of ancient Chinese art, situated on the People’s Square in the Huangpu District of Shanghai, People’s Republic of China. The museum has a collection of over 120,000 pieces, including bronze, ceramics, calligraphy, furniture, jades, ancient coins, paintings, seals, sculptures, minority art and foreign art. It has eleven galleries and three special temporary exhibition halls. The permanent galleries are: ancient Chinese bronze, sculpture, ceramics, jades, paintings, calligraphy, seals, numismatics, furniture in Ming and Qing dynasties, and arts and crafts by Chinese minorities. The Shanghai Museum houses several items of national importance, including one of three extant specimens of a “transparent” bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty.
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  4. Tokyo National Museum, Japan

           Established in 1872, the Tokyo National Museum is the oldest and largest museum in Japan. The museum collects, houses and preserves a comprehensive collection of art works and archaeological objects of Asia, focusing on Japan. The museum holds over 110,000 objects, which includes 87 Japanese National Treasure holdings and 610 Important Cultural Property holdings (as of July, 2005). The museum is located inside Ueno Park in Taito, Tokyo. The facilities consist of the Honkan (Japanese Gallery), Tōyōkan (Asian Gallery), Hyōkeikan, Heiseikan, Hōryū-ji Hōmotsukan (the Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures), as well as Shiryōkan (the Research and Information Center) and other facilities. There are restaurants and shops within the museum’s premises, as well as outdoor exhibitions and a garden where visitors can enjoy seasonal views. The museum’s collections focus on ancient Japanese art and Asian art along the Silk Road. There is also a large collection of Greco-Buddhist art.
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  5. National Museum New Delhi, India

    The National Museum in New Delhi is the largest museum in India. It holds variety of articles ranging from pre-historic era to modern works of art. It functions under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The museum is situated on the corner of Janpath and Maulana Azad Road. It also houses the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology established in 1983 and now a Deemed University since 1989 and runs Masters and Doctoral level courses in History of Art, Art Conservation and Art restoration.
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  6. Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong

           The Hong Kong Museum of Art is the main art museum of Hong Kong. The museum was established as the City Hall Museum and Art Gallery in the City Hall in Central by the Urban Council in 1962. In 1991, it was moved to the present premises at 10 Salisbury Road, near the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Hong Kong Space Museum, in Tsim Sha Tsui. It is currently managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong Government. A branch museum, the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, is situated in the Hong Kong Park. The museum changes its displays regularly. The exhibitions in the museum are mainly of paintings, calligraphy and sculpture from Hong Kong, China and other parts of the world.
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  7. National Museum of Korea, Seoul, South Korea

           The National Museum of Korea is the flagship museum of Korean history and art in South Korea and is the cultural organization that represents Korea. Since its establishment in 1945, the museum has been committed to various studies and research activities in the fields of archaeology, history, and art, continuously developing a variety of exhibitions and education programs. In October 2005, the museum opened in a new building in Yongsan Family Park in Seoul, South Korea. The museum contains over 220,000 pieces in its collection with about 13,000 pieces on display at one time. It displays relics and artifacts throughout six permanent exhibition galleries such as Archaeological Gallery, Historical Gallery, Fine Arts Gallery I, Donation Gallery, Fine Arts Gallery II, and Asian Art Gallery. It is the sixth largest museum in the world in terms of floor space, now covering a total of 137,201 square m (1,480,000 sq ft). In order to protect the artifacts inside the museum, the main building was built to withstand a magnitude 6.0 Richter Scale earthquake. The display cases are equipped with shock-absorbent platforms. There is also an imported natural lighting system which utilizes sunlight instead of artificial lights and a specially-designed air-conditioning system. The museum is also made from fire-resistant materials. It also has special exhibition halls, education facilities, a children’s museum, huge outdoor exhibition areas, restaurants, cafes, shops and other amenities.
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  8. National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India

    The National Gallery of Modern Art was established on March 29, 1954 by the Government of India, with a gallery in New Delhi. Its collection of more than 14,000 works includes artists such as Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil as well as foreign artists, apart from sculptures by various artists. Some of the oldest works preserved here date back to 1857
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  9. Zainul Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh

           Jainul Abedin Museum or the Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin Museum is an art museum in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. It was established in 1975. It contains the collections of the artist Zainul Abedin.
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  10. Indonesia Museum

           The Indonesia Museum is an anthropology and ethnological museum located in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII), Jakarta, Indonesia. The museum concentrated on arts and cultures of various ethnic groups that inhabit Indonesian archipelago and formed the modern nation of Indonesia. The museum, a richly decorated building in Balinese architecture, houses traditional and contemporary arts, crafts and traditional costumes from the different regions of the nation.
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  11. Indonesian National Gallery, Jakarta

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