Asian Art Museum: 18,000 Works So Little Time

Art is something magical that can captivate an audience not only with the techniques displayed in the artwork but the subject of their art. The subject can range from landscape to religion. The art can be found in pottery, clothing, paintings, and so much more. However, my most favorite artwork comes from Asia.  I love the story and style behind each piece. Since I adore asian art so much, I decided to stop over at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California which one of the most comprehensive collections in the world.

In this museum you find art from India to Japan covered within its 3 floors. Unfortunately, the museum had two floors under renovation in order to not only update the exhibits but help preserve them. Despite only having access to the 2nd floor, there was enough artwork to browse through for about half a day. I started near the Japanese Tea Room which was beautifully done with authentic tools along with the proper decoration. This was a very unique room to see because not many asian art collection have a complete tea room to display the pomp and circumstance that came with a tea ceremony in Japan. All around this authentic room is a collection of bamboo weave baskets and pottery that one could find in a true tea room. Many of these pieces focusing on nature and trying to enhance the natural theme one could select a tea ceremony around.

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From there, slide past amazing paintings featuring the women that captivated icon characters of the time period such as a geisha, noble woman, and courtesan. These paintings truly depict scenes that you may have come across if you lived in Japan during that time. Turn to the right or left and find beautiful kimonos or silk screens the people living during the time used and treasured. The sharp color glimmer and the light and makes you wonder how such fine detailing was achieved.

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Look at the tiny trinkets used as accessories and tell me what you see in them before moving onto the next room. I don’t think I could ever produce what they did on such a miniature scale. In the room filled with Buddhist artwork from India to China, see how all the different cultures embraced Buddha and how they created his image or teaching into artwork to help others learn about their faith. The most amazing piece is a golden Buddha that seems to eminent a presence in the room and forces you to stare in awe.

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From the religious artifacts, step away into a haven for amazing detailed porcelain pottery from Korea and China depict images from stories and sceneries around the artist. These artworks came in all shape and size, and all master pieces in their own rights.

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After all the pottery, enjoy looking through the Chinese artifacts that showed the artistry of the time from beautiful scrolls depicting nature to pottery with scenes from the world to somewhat match the possible paintings the would have hanging on their walls. Each piece seems play off the other. Telling a story of a land frozen in time that is beyond breathe taking. The variety of the artwork is amazing from abstract to fine details. Some of the pieces are done in vivid colors to black and white. Some are very simplistic while others are filled to the brim.

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Each work of art tells a story and leaves you breathless ready to see what other wonders were in the next room. You can see and feel the history. I would love to see the other floors that I missed during my next visit to discover what new pieces of history and new stories to discover are within the rooms.


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