The works

The permanent collection


Based on a selection of iconic works evoking Asian cultures, combining court arts with popular and tribal expression, the museum's collection reconciles genres that have traditionally been split between history, ethnography and decorative arts museums, while also embracing contemporary art whose roots can be found in the traditional.




The collection of works from China
The colour green provides a note of harmony in the space devoted to China. Jade was the first raw material that was worked as early as the Neolithic era. Its forms, just like its many shades, are reproduced in bronzes, glazed earthenware and celadon.

Over a very long and uninterrupted period of history up until the Cultural Revolution, artists and artisans traditionally attempted to reproduce the same forms using different materials.



The collection of works from Japan
The colours (black, white, gold and lacquer inlaid with mother of pearl), the materials (the earth and fire of the ceramics, paper and plant materials) exude an atmosphere of calm and peace. The sensitivity of the materials employed is revealed through the respect and care demonstrated in the actions that have shaped the final objects.

The collection of works from India
Indian art, subject to strict rules laid down in the writings, was for centuries highly conservative. The same themes are repeated, but were stylized and often miniaturized. Nevertheless, from the massive stone statuary to the meticulous works in ivory, the most refined material, and wood carvings, the same complete mastery of all types of sculpture is found.


ossuaire_buffle_cms.jpgSOUTH EAST ASIA
The collection of works from South East Asia
South East Asia includes Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, the Malay Peninsula, the Indonesian Archipelago and the Philippines. Each country has developed a culture that has been influenced either by India or by China.
In the art found in ancient Cambodia, architecture and sculpture are very closely related. The roots of Khmer architecture are anchored in the temple-mountain, which is a symbolic representation of Mount Meru, the sacred mountain of the Khmers.
These temples are covered with decorative sculpture that has no structural function. The narrative decors combine figures, animals and vegetation with a profusion and flexibility in which a sense of mystery and the fabulous combine in a single movement.

The routes of Buddhism
Originating in northern India in the sixth century BC in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Buddhist philosophy, which is also a religion, spread west and east along the Silk Road, and also north and south. It quickly conquered northern India and spread right across the sub-continent, from the Indo-Greek steppes in the northwest to the island of Sri Lanka. Around the time of Christ it spread by sea and across mountains into the whole of South East Asia. Through the silk caravan routes it arrived in China, where it was definitely documented in the second century AD, before moving on to Korea and Japan in the sixth century. From Bengal, it moved into Nepal and then, only in the seventh century, into Tibet and subsequently Mongolia – it represents more than eleven centuries of growth and penetration across the largest continent on earth, and always peacefully