San Francisco is a hub of Asian American culture and heritage, thanks in large part to its role as “the Ellis Island of the West” during times of heavy immigration. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 1 million Asian immigrants passed through this area between the period of 1910-1940! Celebrate Asian art and culture on your visit with a trip to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. More than just a museum, this attraction lets you “travel through 6,000 years of history, trek across seven major regions, and sample the cultures of numerous countries”!
What will you see at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco? The museum houses an impressive permanent collection, featuring unique works on display including South Asian stone sculptures, luminous Chinese jades, vibrant Korean paintings, mysterious Tibetan thangkas, Cambodian Buddhas, richly-decorated Islamic manuscripts, and delicate Japanese ceramics. Asian Art also cycles exiting temporary exhibits through its halls, letting visitors behold items that have often never been on display before, or have traveled thousands of miles to enlighten the people of San Francisco. Here’s a sample of the kinds of exhibits you can expect to see (check museum website for specific exhibits on display at the time of your visit):
Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts (October 21, 2011– April 8, 2012)
Here/Not Here: Buddha Presence in Eight Recent Works: This exhibit explores the Buddhist notion of impermanence—the idea that everything is devoid of fixed, identifiable characteristics, and is constantly shifting relative to everything else within the universe. The works range from the traditional and contemporary, to Asian, Western, and beyond!
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is one of the largest museums of its kind in the Western World, and is home to over 17,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years. Check the museum’s calendar before your visit—the museum frequently features special dance or musical performances and tea ceremonies that you won’t want to miss.