Welcome to the Asian Art Museum

The Buddhist great adept Virupa (approx. 1400-1450, Ming dynasty (1368-1644))Asian Art Museum

In a fundamental sense, an artwork is a living thing. It first serves to express the intentions and aesthetic sensibilities of the people who created it or commissioned it. From that point on, it takes on new meanings for everyone who comes in contact with it. In this way, even ancient artworks acquire relevance to our lives today. The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco contributes to the continuity of art through its role in preserving and researching Asian art and promoting its understanding and appreciation. Our collection offers many diverse stories to be told, and we celebrate these works in Google Arts and Culture.

청자 주전 Ewer with lotus-shaped lid 청자 주전 Ewer with lotus-shaped lid (approx. 1050-1150, Goryeo dynasty (918-1392))Asian Art Museum

Throughout our galleries and on this site, we have engaged diverse voices to express their unique perspectives on works in our collection.

Covered jar decorated with lotus pond Covered jar decorated with lotus pond (Ming dynasty (1368-1644))Asian Art Museum

These include our own curators as well as artists, educators, collectors,and others who share our dedication to art.

The Buddha triumphing over Mara (900-1000)Asian Art Museum

We invite you to use this collection of Asian art masterpieces as an entry point for your own exploration of the many fabulous objects on this site.

The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Chinese: Guanyin) approx. 1100 - 1200 The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Chinese: Guanyin) approx. 1100 - 1200 (approx. 1100 - 1200, Song dynasty (960-1279))Asian Art Museum

This selection provides a broad survey of the breadth and depth of our collection, yet it cannot be comprehensive. Our museum—with more than 18,000 artworks dating from 6,000 years ago to today—is vastly richer than what is represented on these pages.

Moon jar (1650-1750, Joseon dynasty (1392-1910))Asian Art Museum

We hope that the works included here inspire you to investigate the museum through our gallery displays and our online collection.

Cup with calligraphic inscriptions Cup with calligraphic inscriptions (probably 1447-1449, Timurid period (1370-1506))Asian Art Museum

As artworks are always alive and changing, so too an art collection is a living organism, constantly growing and building on its strengths.

The deities Indra, and Brahma (Nara period (710-794))Asian Art Museum

With this selection we present some of the masterworks that are the foundation of our museum.

Crowned and bejeweled Buddha image and throne Crowned and bejeweled Buddha image and throne (approx. 1850-1900)Asian Art Museum

We hope the selections here will awaken an understanding of the art, culture, and history of Asia and inspire a wider audience to discover the creative expression in works both ancient and modern.

The deity Vishnu (940-965)Asian Art Museum

The works you see here are closely linked to the history of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the many individuals who contributed to its establishment and growth.

The Hindu deity Shiva The Hindu deity Shiva (approx. 1300-1500)Asian Art Museum

The museum opened on June 11, 1966, as a wing of the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park. Its initial collection was donated by Avery Brundage, a Chicago businessman and president of the International Olympic Committee.

The deity Simhavaktra The deity Simhavaktra (Qing dynasty (1644-1911), Reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736-1795))Asian Art Museum

In 1969, the museum became an independent entity, and in 1973 the institution—until then known as the Center for Asian Art and Culture—was renamed the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. In 1995, the Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture was established at the museum in recognition of a gift from Silicon Valley entrepreneur Chong-Moon Lee.

Buddha dated 338 Buddha dated 338 (Late Zhao period (319-351))Asian Art Museum

The museum collection has grown from Brundage’s donations of 7,700 works to more than 18,000. Today it is the largest museum in the United States devoted exclusively to the arts of Asia

The Character of Characters (2012) by Xu Bing (Chinese, born 1955)Asian Art Museum

Of course, Asia is not one place. The ideas and ideals expressed in Asian art are countless and diverse, and many have connections to works from other continents. The works shown here explore these links, provoking discovery, debate, and inspiration.

Arrival of a Portuguese ship, one of a pair (Nanban screens) (1620-1640)Asian Art Museum

We share this selection of masterpieces as the museum marks a significant episode in our history—a major transformation and expansion of our historic building.

Ritual vessel in the shape of a rhinoceros Ritual vessel in the shape of a rhinoceros (prob. 1100-1050 BCE, Shang dynasty (approx. 1600-1050 BCE))Asian Art Museum

As you explore the myriad artworks on this site, your own thoughts, stories, and collected lists of favorites will add to the rich history of the Asian Art Museum. It is our hope that this glimpse into the museum will inspire ongoing exploration of Asian art through our collections.

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