The Asian Art Museum (Museum für Asiatische Kunst) presents its vast array of artworks created by successive generations of masters active in the Indo-Asian cultural region. One cornerstone of the museum’s holdings is formed by its famous 'Turfan' collection. Its paintings and sculptures originate from Buddhist sacred sites in what is now northwest China and date from the 3rd to 13th century CE. The reconstruction of one such sacred site, a square temple, is adorned with the original wall paintings from Cave 123 in the Kucha oasis.
A central room in the permanent exhibition is dedicated to Buddhist art created in China, Japan, and Korea. One particularly striking artefact that stands out from the hundreds of exquisite non-religious Chinese objects – bronzes, ceramics, porcelain, and lacquer objects – is an imperial throne from the 17th century made of rosewood, inlays of mother-of-pearl, lacquer, and gold.
Indian religious art is presented in the form of thousand-year-old sculptures of stone, bronze, and terracotta. The round stupa and the rectangular temple on display give a vivid impression of Indian sacred architecture. Elaborate craftwork of metal, ceramic, ivory, wood, and jade reflect the influence of Islam on this region from the 12th century onwards.
Among the museum’s highlights are the collection of Japanese painting and East-Asian lacquer objects bequeathed to the museum by the collector Klaus Friedrich Naumann, as well as the Berlin Yuegutang Collection, featuring Chinese ceramics ranging from the Neolithic period all the way up the 15th century. Due to the sensitive nature of the material (primarily paper and silk), examples of highly sophisticated East-Asian calligraphy and pictorial art cannot be placed on permanent display and are instead presented in a series of constantly rotating exhibitions, which makes each visit to the museum a whole new experience.
This museum was closed. It will reopen 2019 at Humboldt Forum.