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Asia in the Arts

Enjoy a quick browse through these museum and arts–related websites. Descriptions marked by an * help navigate access to on-line educational materials.

The Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina

The Museum’s permanent collection consists of more than 17,000 works of art featuring North Carolina’s premier collections of Asian art and works of art on paper as well as significant collections of European masterworks, twentieth-century and contemporary art, African art, and North Carolina pottery. 

*Visit Education and click to K-12/ teacher resources to Pre/Post Visit Materials for Arts of Asia and The Five Faiths Project, which combines art, photographs, storytelling and community events to introduce Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

American Museum of Natural History

The AMNH located on the upper west side of Manhattan, New York City, contains over 32 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals and rocks, and human cultural artifacts. 

*Type in key words (i.e. “peoples of Asia) in the Explore tab for a plethora of images and artifacts.

In addition, there is an online collection of over 55,000 objects and textiles that represent Asian culture with an  extensive selection from Siberia, China, and the Philippines. Access the online collection

The Art Institute of Chicago

The encyclopedic Art Institute, second only to the Metropolitan Art Museum in terms of size, contains over 250,000 works of art and over 5000 years of artistic expression from cultures around the world.  Its holdings include European paintings and art, contemporary and modern art, decorative arts, Asian and Islamic art as well as architecture and graphic design.  The Asian collection offers works spanning nearly five millennia and includes 35,000 objects of archaeological and artistic significance.   

*Explore themes or the on-line collection here.

The Art Newspaper

Reports on old art, new art, decorative art, the commercial and non–commercial world; campaigns for the preservation of cultural property around the world. Of special interest are categories for Special Reports, the Art Market, Shows & Events, and Jobs.

Asia Society Museum

The Asia Society mounts exhibitions of ancient and modern art assembled from private collections in Asia and the West as well as pieces from the Society’s permanent collection (roughly 300 pieces donated by the Rockefellers). Enter through Arts for Asia Society Museum.


This site promotes Asian art through brush painting, woodblock prints, ceramics, embroidery, and textiles in China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malay. History and techniques are covered with connections to galleries, museums, artists and tea ceremonies.

On–line journal for the study and exhibition of the arts of Asia—provides on–line exhibitions and scholarly articles, descriptions of organizations and galleries with links to related sources.

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Spanning cultures from Turkey to India and China to the Philippines through 6,000 years, the collection provides a panorama of Asian art and culture and contains over 18,000 objects ranging from tiny jades to monumental sculptures.

*Enter Education, then scroll to Explore Resources for over 1000 on-line resource packets (105 lessons and activities, 280 featured artworks, 442 videos, and 177 background portfolios).

Asian Historical Architecture

This site has thousands of on-line photos of historical architecture (896 sites) in Asia from China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, India, and Pakistan (21 countries).

Beloit College, Logan Museum

The Logan Museum houses approximately 15,000 ethnographic and over 200,000 archaeological objects from 129 countries and more than 600 cultural groups. Building upon a large collection originally exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, the museum has acquired many significant collections. Notable ethnographic collections include Native North and South American, Asian, Pacific, and African material.  

*Click onto Collections/Collection Highlights and tap into Asia for online images from the Near East, Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The Chinese artifacts under East Asia include an extensive collection of imperial textiles as well as shadow puppets, temple weapons, and religious sculpture.

Jacques–Edouard Berger Foundation

A showcase of many art treasures and paintings with essays on the artists and their world.

*Search The World Art Treasures Project by Country (Africa, Europe, North America, Asia, and South Asia) for a selection of identified images.  A glossary to religions in China includes definitions of Confucian and Taoist terms:.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The MFA’s collection of over 450,000 works of art encompass Egyptian artifacts, European and American painting and art, and a  diverse collection of Asian art including Japanese, Chinese, and Indian painting and sculpture; Japanese prints and metalwork; Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese ceramics; and the arts of the Islamic world. 

*On-line collection tours include Chinese Master Painting and Japanese Paintings.

The British Museum

The British Museum's founding collection was the 71,000 books, antiquities and natural specimens bequeathed to the nation by Sir Hans Sloane in 1753.  A number of high profile classical antiquity acquisitions were made in the nineteenth such as the Rosetta Stone (1802) and the Elgin Marbles (1816).  In 1933 the Department of Oriental Antiquities was created to bring together collections hitherto scattered across four departments in the British Museum. The Department of Oriental Antiquities and Ethnography joined this new department in 1946.  The combined collections made Oriental Antiquities one of the leading repositories of Asian material in Europe.  In 2003 the Departments of Oriental Antiquities and Japanese Antiquities merged to become the Department of Asia. In 2005 the remaining Ethnography collections from Asia, over 20,000 items, joined the new Department.

Recent contemporary acquisitions and bequests include: over two hundred Japanese photobooks dating from 1945 to 2000

*Click the tab for Explore on the museum banner which will bring you to Themes, Highlights (more than two million objects), Kids Discover, Browse objects (culture, place, people, material, popularity, World cultures, and Online tours.  In World Cultures and Tours, journey to Asia (Ancient China and Imperial China).  Online tours brings such materials as The Caves of the Thousand Buddhas (Stein Collection of Chinese Buddhist painting from Dunhuang), Chinese Jade, Mountains and Water (landscape) and Chinese New Year.

The Cleveland Museum of Art

One of the most comprehensive art museums in the nation, the Cleveland Museum includes almost 45,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. 

*The online collection contains specific sections on Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Southeast Asian, and Japanese and Korean art. Each section has a significant number of artifacts, and the collections are easily navigated. View these collections.

*Asian Odyssey at the Cleveland Museum of Art: This educational site is an effort to advance the study of Asian art and culture in K–12 curriculum (China and Japan) by creating a model curriculum and program. 

Lessons are organized by category and grade level (1–4, 5–8, 9–12)—subjects include Animals in Japan; Ukiyo-e:  Japanese Prints Depicting the Floating World; Theatre in China and Japan; The Life of a Chinese Scholar; The Three Perfections: Calligraphy, Poetry and Painting; Using Mystery Objects to Draw Conclusions About Ancient Chinese and Japanese Culture; Military History of China and Japan; Horses; Japanese Folktales; Japanese Festivals and Celebrations; The Role of Dragons in Chinese Culture;  The Four Religions of East Asia; Porcelain and Trade Economics; Chado: The Japanese Tea Ceremony, and many more. 

China Institute

China-focused programs in education, culture, business and art through exhibitions, lectures, events, and workshops.

*Tap into the main links of Education or Arts & Culture for curriculum resources. If navigating through Education, drill through For Educators to Curriculum Resources and enter From Silk to Oil: A Curriculum

Guide; Curriculum Units (Han China, Tang Newspaper); and Featured (Exhibition) Resources (photos of contemporary Beijing, shadow puppets, Buddhist sculpture, and tea & wine).

China Mirror

An on-line tool, China Mirror (CM) offers case studies of Chinese objects and texts for students, teachers, and educators to explore themes on Chinese culture, history, and medicine through original documents and artifacts.   Internationally-recognized experts guide readers through content and methods required to read a range of primary sources such as treaties, manuals, and artworks.  The site includes multiple guides and assessments to critical thinking and global awareness.  CM most benefits those teachers who are teaching China in comparison to the West or are looking for ways to strengthen their approach to premodern materials.  Among the topics covered are Women and Art in 13th Century China (bronze mirror); Medicine and Childbirth (childbirth text); Culture and International Relations in the 18th Century (garden engraving); China and International Law (hand-written treaty); Popular Beliefs in Ancient China (almanac); Civil Service Exams (examination list); and Pipa as a Window on Chinese Music (pipa).

Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

Symbolically housed in the oldest and last surviving structure of Los Angeles’ original Chinatown, the 7,200 square foot Chinese American Museum (CAM) embodies a cultural and physical link to the past  as well as a promising point of entry for the city’s multicultural future. 

*Scroll through Exhibitions for past, upcoming and ongoing shows: General Store and Herb Shop; Journeys; and Origins of Chinese American Communities in LA.

City University of Hong Kong, Chinese Civilization Centre

Click to Chinese Civilization Centre–introductions to Beijing Opera, Chinese Calligraphy and Painting, Chinese Festivals of Hong Kong, Hundred Schools of Thought, Kunqu Opera, the Art of Chinese Gardens, and the Geography of China.

Columbia University, Asia for Educators (AFE)

A resource site for teachers developed by Columbia University’s East Asian Curriculum Project (EACP), AFE is a national initiative devoted to supporting Asia at the undergraduate and pre-college levels. Focusing primarily on China and Japan, the site features classroom materials and faculty guides for educators that can be viewed by Subject Area (art, language…), File Type (timelines, maps…), or Time Period. Under View by Subject Area, categories are further divided into Teaching Units (Art, for example, features teaching units developed for AFE: Great Bronze Age of China and Guide to Chinese Painting); Resource List (visual materials to purchase from Museums); and Web Links (online lessons developed by Museums and Universities). Another resource on this page are Teaching Modules which includes The Mongols in World History; The Song Dynasty in China; Living in the Chinese Cosmos, China and Europe: What is Modern; and Recording the Grandeur of the Qing: The Southern Inspection Tour Scrolls of the Kangxi and Qianlong Emperors.

The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art

The Crow collection located in Dallas, TX, is one of only a handful of museums in this country dedicated solely to the arts of Asia and features over 500 pieces of art from China, Japan, India, Korea, and Southeast Asia.

Denver Art Museum

The Museum houses a collection of more than 70,000 works of art divided between 10 permanent collections including African, American Indian, Asian, European and American, modern and contemporary, pre-Columbian, photography, Spanish Colonial, textile, and western American art. 

The Asian art collection originated in 1915 with a donation of Chinese and Japanese art objects and has broadened to include works from the entire Asian continent. Spanning a period from the fourth millennium B.C. to the present, these objects illustrate the wide-ranging achievements of Asian artists and artisans. 

*Go to Collections, scroll to Asian Art for selected highlights. 

Detroit Institute of Arts

The DIA collection is among the top six in the United States, comprising a multicultural and multinational survey of human creativity from prehistory through the 21st century. In addition to outstanding American, European, Modern and Contemporary, and Graphic art, the museum holds significant works of African, Asian, Native American, Oceanic, Islamic, and Ancient art. 

*Go to the category of Art and scroll through Collections to The Arts of Asian and the Islamic World—scan to Highlights for further selections.

Field Museum

The Field Museum maintains collections of more than 26 million biological specimens and cultural artifacts. 

*From the homepage, visit Science, tap into Research & Collections, enter Culture, and choose among Areas of Focus. The Field Museum has a long history of research in South and East Asia dating from the World's Columbian Exhibition, which featured people and objects from Asia, through the work of several curators in the Department of Anthropology, including Berthold Laufer  who built the Asian Collections. The Cultures of Asia include the Asian Textiles Collections, Berhold Laufer Collections, Boone Collection of Japanese artifacts, Chinese Rubbings Collection, Javanese Mask Collection, Philippine Photo Archive, Schuster Collection of Textiles, and World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folger Shakespeare Library has the world's largest collection of materials relating to Shakespeare and his works, from the 16th century to the present day, as well as a world-renowned collection of books, manuscripts, and prints from Renaissance Europe.  Home to rare books, manuscripts, and works of art, the Folger's also has a rich array of on-line sources to enrich gobal perspectives.

*Scroll to The Collection, Exhibitions and visit Past Exhibitions for “Imagining China: The View from Europe, 1550-1700

Guangdong Museum of Art

The Guangdong Museum of hosts nearly sixty exhibitions each year from smaller intimate looks at the work of contemporary artists to exhibitions larger in scale such as that of sculptor Henry Moore. Recently, the Guangdong Museum of Art has initiated a Triennial Exhibition of contemporary art, both Chinese and international. 

*Enter Exhibit (recent) for quick bites on contemporary works of art by artists living in China and abroad with an emphasis on the coastal area of Southeast China.

Guggenheim Museum

Founded on a collection of early modern masterpieces, the Guggenheim Museum today is an ever-growing institution devoted to the art of the 20th century and beyond.

*Enter Education and visit Arts Curriculum Online. This area of the museum’s Web site provides teachers with curriculum materials to support the use of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s exhibitions and collections both during school visits and in the classroom. This site concentrates on recent exhibitions, but aims to develop a comprehensive range of lessons for educators on art and artists in the museum’s collection.  For example, scroll  for China: 5000 Years under the Traditional Section this show reviews jade, bronze, grave goods, ceramics, sculpture, calligraphy, and painting.

Himalayan Art Project

The Himalayan Art Project catalogues and displays Himalayan and Tibetan art from collections around the world with the long term goal of creating an comprehensive and definitive archive.  The images are catalogued according to art type & subjecticonographic subjectregionstyle, time period, religious tradition ,custom pages, and much more. Paintings and sculpture are digitally reunited  into their original sets where ever possible.

Hong Kong Museum of Art

The Hong Kong Museum of Art preserves over 16,000 art objects including Chinese painting and calligraphy, tea ware and seals, antiquities, historical paintings and contemporary artwork  by local artists.  To maintain an international character, the museum also presents a variety of thematic exhibitions drawn from local and overseas sources.

*Click to Artpedia for Education Resources (Google Art, Fantastic Animals, 100 Years of Chinese Painting, Introduciton to Chinese Calligraphy), eBooks & Mobile Apps, Publications, Pamphlets and Booklets.

Honolulu Museum of Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art has a large collection of Asian art, especially Japanese and Chinese works. Major collections include the Samuel H. Kress collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, American and European paintings and decorative arts, art of AfricaOceania, and the Americas, textilescontemporary art, and a graphics collection of over 23,000 works on paper. Other collections include the James A. Michener collection of ukiyo-e prints and the Hawaiian art collection, which chronicles the history of art in Hawaiʻi. 

*Go to Art and then Collection Overview for online collections—the permanent collection has grown to more than 50,000 objects and represents all the major cultures of Hawaii spanning  5000 years, from ancient times  to today.

Huntington Archive of Buddhist and Related Art

The John C. and Susan L. Huntington Photographic Archive of Buddhist and Asian Art contains nearly 300,000 original slides and photographs – photographic documentation of art and architecture throughout Asia. Countries included in the collection are India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma), China, and Japan. The documentation covers in situ works of art and architecture ranging from approximately 2500 B.C.E. to the present, as well as pieces found in most major Asian, European, and American museums. This broad, yet detailed collection contains predominantly Buddhist material, but also includes Hindu, Jain, and Islamic works as well.

*See Online Exhibitions for exhibitions of Asian art and culture that were held at various locations throughout the country and which can be accessed for teaching resources. Currently available from China are the following: Picturing Power: Posters of the Cultural Revolution; Literature in Line—Lianhua Picture Stories from China; China—5, 000 Years; From Heaven and Earth: Chinese Jade in Context. Additional exhibitions are listed under Tibet, Japan, and India.  Educational Resources include a dictionary of Buddhist terms, maps of Asia, graphics for teaching Buddhist ideas; a guide to digital photography; lost and stolen images of Afghanistan and Nepal; web publications; and links to related sites.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art

The Johnson Museum at Cornell University holds more than 35,000 works in its collection.  The Museum began to collect Asian art in the 1950s and now contains more than eight thousand works in this area.  *Go to Collections and click on Asian Art for a sampling of Chinese, Japanese, Korean,  South and Southeast Asia objects with detailed text entries accompanying the images.

The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, ArtsEdge

ArtsEdge is the Kennedy Center’s free digital resource for teaching and learning in, through, and about the arts. Explore “lessons” for standard-based resources inside and outside of school and “how-to’s” for practical, creative ways to bring the arts into your classroom. 

*Dive directly in to “Collections” for 47 themes  which can be sorted by genre, place, time, and big ideas.  Look into Asia, China, India and Japan for a range of arts–related topics to enhance the K–12 educational experience.   Selected Lessons include Chinese Calligraphy and Painting, Chinese Musical Instruments, Puppets on the Move: China and the Silk Road, Science Meets Artistry: The Work of Cai Guo-Qiang, and Teaching Shadow Puppetry.

Kyoto National Museum

The Kyoto National Museum was founded in 1897 and holds imperial and national treasures in the categories of archaeology, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, calligraphy, textile, lacquerware, and metalwork.   

*Search the KNM Collection Database with over 10,000 images of over 5,000 objects from the museum collections; the KNM Gallery which has high resolution images of important cultural treasures; Masterpieces of KNM for the best-known works; and e-Museum for images of art works owned by Japan’s four National Museums (Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Kyusu).  Another useful resource is  the Museum Dictionary for Kids which contains selections from the same categories above—as well as architecture—and is useful in both Chinese and Japanese cultural explorations.  See, for example, “Lucky Motifs on a Dragon Robe,” under Textile Stories.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States with a collection that includes over 120,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art.  Among the museum’s strengths are its holdings of Asian art, Latin American art (ranging from pre-Columbian masterpieces to works by leading modern and contemporary artists), and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world.

*Visit Art, go to Collections and tap into Search the Collections for filters such as Highlights, Curatorial Area, Chronology, and Object Type.  Enter Programs, then Students & Teachers for Teacher Resources such as Art of the Samurai and Cross-Cultural Exchange.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met’s permanent collection contains more than two million works divided among seventeen curatorial departments.  Represented in the permanent collection are works of art from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met also maintains extensive holdings of African, AsianOceanicByzantine, and Islamic art.  The museum is home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, and antique weapons and armor from around the world. 

*Under the tab for “Learn,” look “For Educators” and “Find an Educator Resource” with an interactive timeline and map to find teaching resources by subject area, grade, and theme.

*Under the tab for “Collection,” browse by artist/maker/culture; object type/material; geographic location, date/era or department.  #MetKids was made for, with, and by kids using a time machine to explore the Met's collection.  Timeline of Art History presents the Met’s collection via a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of global art history. Targeted at students and scholars of art history, it comprises 300 timelines, 930 essays, close to 7,000 objects, and a robust index, and is regularly updated and enriched to provide new scholarship and insights on the collection.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

MIA’s permanent collection has more than 83,000 objects spanning 5,000 years and representing the world’s diverse cultures across all continents. The museum has seven curatorial areas: Arts of Africa & the Americas; Contemporary Art; Decorative Arts, Textiles & Sculpture; Asian Art; Paintings; Photography and New Media; and Prints and Drawings. 

*Enter “Collection” for Asian Art which represents seventeen Asian cultures.  The collection is divided between two departments: the Department of Chinese, South and Southeast Asian Art and the Department of Japanese and Korean Art.

*Go to “Discover” for “Teachers & Students,” then scroll to “Online Learning Resources” for a wide range of study units; see “The  Art of Asia” which explores more than 500 works of art from China, Japan, and Tibet with the help of maps, a dynasty guide, curators’ comments and short videos, and study guide. Cross-cultural Asian themes include Buddhism, Architecture, and Ceramics.  Also see the units on “World Myths and Legends in Art” and “World Religions in Art.”

Museum of Chinese in America

MOCA’s core exhibition, rotating and touring exhibitions, educational services and public programs draw from the collections comprising more than 60,000 letters and documents, business and organizational records, oral histories, clothing and textiles, photographs and precious artifacts.  Scholars, writers, filmmakers, students, the media and the general public can consult this unique resource.  

*The Online Collection Database is building its selection of searchable records including its “Photo Collection” and “Marcella Dear”, over 1000 artifacts and documents chronicling Ms. Dear’s family history in Chinatown from the late 1800s to the present.   Classroom resources are currently in development—under “Education” scroll through “Teachers” and “Resources” for a list of topics.  Search the Timeline for an interactive history on Chinese in America.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai

For a taste of contemporary art, view details on Home page.

National Art Museum of China

This major Beijing museum, funded by the Ministry of Culture, houses more than 100,000 pieces of various collections, most of which are representative works of China from different dynasties, folk and popular art, modern and contemporary Chinese painting. The museum also collects Western artwork.  *Online exhibitions capture major exhibitions from 2011 to the present.

National Gallery of Art

Explore thousands of the most significant works of art from the Renaissance to the present day. The NGA’s growing collection includes European and American masterpieces in every medium. 

*The Collection can be searched by artist's last name, key words in the title, key words in object information, credit line, provenance name, accession number, exhibition history, and/or catalogue raisonné.  Searches can be filtered  by medium, nationality, time span, styles, images, and whether an object is on view.   Classroom instructors can also visit Education and click Teachers for Lessons & Activities and Teaching Packets.  NGA Kids Interactives is a site for online interactive art with an array of games and activities. 

National Museum of China

The National Museum website is available in English, with links to past and present exhibitions, collections and research.

The National Museum of China (Chinese: 中国国家博物馆; pinyinZhōngguó guójiā bówùguǎn) flanks the eastern side of Tiananmen Square in BeijingChina. The museum's mission is to educate about the arts and history of China. It is directed by the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China.

Exhibitions focus on traditional or contemporary cultural production and have included such topical programs as an exhibition of the luxury brand Louis Vuitton in 2011.

The museum, covering Chinese history from the Yuanmou Man of 1.7 million years ago to the end of the Qing Dynasty(the last imperial dynasty), has a permanent collection of 1,050,000 items with many precious and rare artifacts not to be found in museums anywhere else in China or the rest of the world.

Among the most important items in the National Museum of China are the "Simuwu Ding" from the Shang Dynasty (the heaviest piece of ancient bronzeware in the world, at 832.84 kg), the square shaped Shang Dynasty bronze zun decorated with four sheep heads, a large and rare inscribed Western Zhou Dynasty bronze water pan,  a gold-inlaid Qin Dynasty bronze tally in the shape of a tiger, Han Dynasty jade burial suits sewn with gold thread, and a comprehensive collection of Tang Dynasty tri-colored glazed sancai and Song Dynasty ceramics.

National Palace Museum, Taipei

One of the national museums of the Republic of China, this major repository of art has a permanent collection of more than 696,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest in the world. The collection encompasses over 10,000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty with many imperial art treasures.  Read about the chronology of the collections’ move which is closely connected to the social changes of modern China under “Tradition and Continuity” (About the NPM).

*Go to Kids Garden for downloadable learning resources that include worksheets and manuals of teaching resources (children’s play, ceramics, Qing Ming festival, tea, toys and patterns) applicable for a range of audiences, elementary to high school.  Lessons are in Chinese—very useful for Chinese language classes.  Additional resources include DIY crafts, e-learning, and online games.

e-Museum of the National Museums, Japan

The National Museums of Japan have compiled an e-museum that pertains to all things Japan. Each item has been uploaded in high resolution, which allows extensive inspection of each item, and the entire website is available in English. The well-organized site makes a virtual Japan museum trip easy.

The images of national treasures and important cultural properties are owned by four national museums (Tokyo National MuseumKyoto National MuseumNara National Museum and Kyushu National Museum) that belong to the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage.

The e-Museum website is now available as an iPhone application, allowing users to access the treasures of Japan's four National Museums anytime, anywhere.

Pacific Asia Museum

University of Southern California partnered with the Pacific Asia Museum in 2013 to form the USC Pacific Asia Museum.  The collection numbers more than 15,000 objects, including rare and representative examples of art and ethnographic objects from Asia and the Pacific Islands, spanning more than five thousand years. Prominent among these are the Harari Collection of Japanese paintings and drawings from the Edo period (1600-1868); significant holdings in Chinese ceramics and textiles; one of the largest collections of Japanese folk paintings outside Japan; a South Pacific tapa (bark cloth) collection; the Lydman and Snukal Collections of Chinese ceramics; Southeast Asian Ceramics from the Collection of Margot and Hans Ries; a fine collection of Buddhist art from throughout Asia; and the complete prints of Paul Jacoulet. The museum has recently reinstalled its Chinese decorative arts and Japanese galleries.  *Click to Education/Teacher Resources for online exhibitions: Chinese Ceramics; Visions of Enlightenment: Arts of Buddhism; Power Dressing in Imperial China; and My Masterpieces: Silk Road Curriculum.

Palace (Gugong) Museum, Beijing

Website in English

The Palace Museum, located in the Forbidden City, China’s imperial palace from 1420 to 1912, features 5,000 years of traditional Chinese art, with a rich concentration of architecture and artifacts from the Ming and Qing imperial courts. 

*The website allows viewers to explore permanent, traveling and virtual exhibitions as well as highlights of the collection (Curator’s Pick) in categories of ceramic, jewelry, paintings, clocks, calligraphy, statuary, jades, textiles, bronzes and glass, etc.  A virtual Palace Tour and Museum Routes provide recommendations for exploring the Forbidden City through galleries and period halls.  Academic resources are available in Chinese (simplified or complex characters).

Peabody Essex Museum

The roots of the Peabody Essex Museum date to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society, an organization of Salem captains and supercargoes who had sailed beyond either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. Society members brought to Salem a diverse collection of objects from the northwest coast of America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, India and elsewhere. Today, the museum’s collections include more than 840,000 works of art and culture featuring maritime art and history; American art; Asian, Oceanic, and African art; Asian export art; two large libraries with over 400,000 books, manuscripts, and documents; and 22 historic buildings—among them is Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside China. 

*The website includes a sampling of online interactive exhibitions including “Write Like an Emerpor,” “Fish, Silk, Tea, Bamboo,” “Origami Now,” “The Emperor Looks West,” and “Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese Home,” to name just  a few.  The Collection search feature links to related online exhibitions.  Click the Learn & Play tab to Teacher Learning & Resources for downloadable Classroom Resources.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Museum houses more than 227,000 objects showing the creative achievements of the Asian world and Western art from the mediaeval period to the present with an exceptionally strong collection of American painting, sculpture and decorative arts.   (Roman, Pre-Columbian and Egyptian are mainly housed at the University of Pennsylvania).  Highlights of the Asian collections include paintings and sculpture from China, Japan, and India; furniture and decorative arts, including major collections of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ceramics; Persian and Turkish carpets; and architectural assemblages such as a Qing dynasty Scholar’s Studio, a Ming dynasty Reception Hall, a Ming dynasty ceiling from a Buddhist temple, a Japanese teahouse, and a sixteenth-century Indian temple hall.[3]

*112,000 objects from the Museum's collection of over 227,000 are available in the online collections database. This information changes weekly as objects are added, updated, and enhanced with current research.  Visit Schools & Teachers for Lesson Plans, Object Resources, Themed Resources (Asian Art Teaching Kits) and Exhibition Materials (i.e. “Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano”)

Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a museum of artworld culture and natural history in Toronto, Canada.  The museum contains more than six million items with notable collections of dinosaurs, minerals and meteorites, Near Eastern and African art, Art of East Asia, European history, and Canadian history. The museum also contains an extensive collection of design and fine arts, including clothing, interior, and product design, especially Art Deco.  There are four galleries featuring Chinese art and archaeology which are described in Exhibitions and Galleries: the Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art, the Tanenbaum Gallery of China, the ROM Gallery of Chinese Architecture, and the Mathews Court of Chinese Sculpture.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art  contain over 26,000 art objects  art from East AsiaSouth Asia, Southeast Asia, the Islamic world, the ancient Near East, and ancient Egypt, as well as a significant collection of American art.  Over 11,000 objects from the Freer|Sackler collections are fully searchable and available online.  The Freer was also featured in the Google Art Project, which offers online viewers close-up views of selected items from the Freer.   Teachers can find a number of curriculum materials to select online.

*Go to Explore + Learn, Resources for Educators, to explore a topic by area using online guides (supplemented by themed educator resources and exhibition features such as Cai Guo-Qiang: ‘Traveler’ or Contemporary Art by Xu Bing) and access classroom activities for lesson plans including “How to Read a Chinese Hand Scroll.”  

San Diego Museum of Art

The San Diego Museum of Art’s collections range in date from 5,000 B.C. to the present. Perhaps best known for its Spanish old master paintings, the Museum holds a broad collection of European, American, Latin American, and Asian Art.  Among the most important aspect of the Museum’s holdings in Asian art are the world-class South Asian paintings from the encyclopedic collection of Edwin Binney 3rd; Buddhist sculpture of China and Japan; Ukiyo-e woodblock prints; and a wide variety of ceramics, metalwork, and decorative arts ranging in date from about 1,600 BCE until the present-day.

*Go to Education/Curriculum and see Educator’s Art Fair Spring 2014 How-To Guide for lesson plans on Exploring the Art of East Asia.  Search the Collection buy entering through Art, Search the Collections.

San Jose State University

The School of Art and Design at San Jose State University offers a digital portal to visual culture.  A wide variety of well–researched exhibitions, many with maps, timelines, and images,  encourage viewers to explore such themes under Special Exhibitions as Asian Gateways, Islamic Tutorial, Chinese & European Ceramics, Sacrifices in Ancient Cultures, Confucianism and Feminism, and the Silk Road.   Asian Gateways introduces Chinese, Japanese, and Korean culture; the Chinese gateway researches tombs, paintings, and Angel Island.

Seattle Art Museum (SAM)/Seattle Asian Art Museum

SAM encompasses a main museum, sculpture park and the Asian Art Museum (SAAM), in all its collections total nearly 25,000 pieces that focus on modern and ethnic art. 

*An on-line database allows viewers to search Collections, and Collection Resources provide access to a digital catalogue of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy as well as other interactive collection-related compendia.  

Shanghai Museum

The museum has a collection of over 120,000 pieces, including bronzeceramicscalligraphyfurniture, jades, ancient coinspaintingssealssculptures, minority art and foreign art.  The collection houses objects gathered by the Communist Field Army during the civil war, artifacts confiscated by the customs service, and private collections.  The Shanghai Museum houses several items of national importance, including one of three extant specimens of a "transparent" bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty

*Tap into Display and select from Galleries information on bronze, ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, jade, coins, furniture, seals, and the art of national minorities. By entering Collection, highlights of specific objects arranged by category can be viewed.  Online Explore offers virtual tours of the collection.

Norton Simon Museum of Art

The Norton Simon Museum comprises more than 11,000 objects on long-term loan from the Norton Simon Foundation and includes: European paintings, sculptures, and tapestries; Asian sculptures, paintings, and woodblock prints; and a sculpture garden.  The Asian art collection is especially strong in South Asian and Southeast Asian art with holdings from IndiaPakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia and Thailand, as well as selected works from Afghanistan, MyanmarBangladeshChinaIndonesiaSri LankaVietnam, and Japan. The significant collection of Japanese woodblock prints includes objects that were formerly in the collection of Frank Lloyd Wright.  *The Multimedia tab leads to podcasts that feature conversations  between curators, scholars and artists about the collection.  To learn more about the Asian collection, for example, viewers can access the video podcast, “Learning to Look at Asian Art” as well as several other related themes.

University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery

The collection contains over 1,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period to the Qing dynasty principally in ceramics, bronzes, and paintings with additional wroks in jade, wood, and stone.  

*An on-line tour of the Tea Gallery educates viewers about tea, tea culture, and tea utensils.

University of Michigan Museum of Art

UMMA’s collection of nearly 20,000 works of art span culture, era and medium—its Asian collections are among the strongest of university art museum holdings.   Portfolio guides for searching the collection are organized by area, theme or medium. 

*Views of the galleries can be accessed on-line by going to On View, then entering Collection Galleries, and scrolling to Asian Crossroads Gallery, Japanese Gallery, South and Southeast Asian Gallery, Shirley Chang Gallery of Chinese Art, and the Woon-Hyung Lee and Korea Foundation Gallery of Korean Art.  A Dialog Table under Education offers an interactive storytelling and social learning tool: go to Browse Objects and Filter by Gallery or Tag.  Enter University Teaching and Research to search the Online Collection.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

One of the top ten comprehensive  museums in the U.S. with collections of African, American, European, East and South Asian art and Art Nouveau decorative arts, English silver, and Fabergé eggs. 

*For teaching highlights on Asian Art, click on Learn and tunnel through Resources to Special Exhibitions for on-line tools covering an 18th-century Chinese merchant class family, Japanese woodblock prints, and the Forbidden City.  By exploring Tours, go to Audio + Virtual Tours for Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing.

Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization

A visual sourcebook for teachers prepared by Patricia Buckley Ebrey (author of the Cambridge Illustrated History of China) with maps, timelines, and teachers’ guides on ten important subject areas spanning the length of Chinese history: Geography, Ancient Tombs, Buddhism, Calligraphy, Military Technology, Painting, Homes, Gardens, Clothing, and Graphic Arts.  The goal of the “sourcebook” is to supplement teaching materials with visual aids and provide students with a preview of a topic which can be used to facilitate discussion or written assignments for the classroom.

Wing Luke Museum

The Wing offers more than 18,000 resources and materials including books, periodicals, oral and video histories, photographs, historic documents and other artifacts related to the history, culture, and art of Asian Pacific Americans. 

*Scroll through Learn to Research and search the online collections catalog: Featured digital collections include Takano Studio Collection and the Cantonese Opera Collection.  Curriculum offerings together with permanent and traveling exhibitions dedicated to the Asian Pacific American experience in the United States.