Along the Silk and Spice Routes
For more than 2,000 years, a network of overland and maritime trade routes connected East and West, linking the powerful and culturally diverse regions of China, India, Persia, Egypt and Rome. Delve into the artistic legacy of the silk and spice routes discovering how trade, travel and cultural exchange transformed and remade the ancient world.
Goddesses: Images of Power
Depictions of the feminine divine encompass a wealth of art from fertility goddesses to Earth Mother to wrathful figures that help devotees achieve nirvana. Take a fascinating look at worship in Asia from a “different point of view” and learn engrossing ancient stories of devotion, lust, compassion, wisdom and power.
India’s Spiritual Legacy
Home to many religious traditions which spread to other parts of Asia, art from India and South Asia is a visual feast. The Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh religions all originated here, and for many centuries South Asia was also the seat of several powerful Islamic dynasties. Discover images and artifacts related to these religions and traditions.
Jade, Stone of Heaven
Over time, jade has come to be associated in popular belief with everything that is powerful, beautiful and precious. Learn about the dedication, patience and years of training jade craftsmen harnessed to produce objects of such beauty, as well as the fascination that jade held for the powerful Chinese and Mughal aristocracies. With more than 1,200 jade pieces covering a span of 5,000 years, the Asian Art Museum’s collection ranks among the finest ever assembled under one roof.
An Introduction to the Asian Art Museum
A tour of the Asian Art Museum that covers major art pieces from the various cultures represented by the collection on view. This tour can be tailored to the group’s interests. The docent can concentrate on specific galleries or give a broad overview of each culture.
The Asian Art Museum opened in its Civic Center location in March 2003, in San Francisco’s former Main Library building. The original building was designed by George Kelham in the Beaux-Arts style and opened as the library in 1917. Explore the preserved architectural features of the original building and learn how Italian architect Gae Aulenti applied adaptive reuse techniques to transform it into a museum.
Discover how the museum is looking to the future as we transform the museum with a new exhibition pavilion and rooftop art terrace designed by architect Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY.
Planning a trip to Asia soon? Learn more about your destination before getting on the plane! Let us know your itinerary and one of our expert docents will create a customized tour through our collection galleries that focuses on the regions you will be visiting. You’ll gain insight based on the artwork we have on view as well as your docent’s own personal experiences.
For more information on this one-of-a-kind tour, please contact group visits at 415.581.3620 or [email protected].
Can’t make it to the museum? Let us bring the museum to you! A docent from the Asian Art Museum’s Community Speakers Program can deliver an educational and entertaining multimedia talk at your location. Visit the Community Speakers Program page for more information or to request a talk.