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Exhibition Schedule


When Rabbit Left the Moon: A Video Poem by Emiko Omori
Feb 18 - 26, 2017

Omori draws on some of the archival images used in her award-winning 1999 documentary memoir Rabbit in the Moon. The video opens with vintage family photos and home movies of joyful picnics and seaside leisure. These images soon give way to those of an uprooted community: hastily packed suitcases and trunks; men, women and children loaded onto railcars and buses; and vacated storefronts. 

Now On View

Worshipping Women: Power and Devotion in Indian Painting
Jun 28, 2016 - Feb 26, 2017

Female power and its personifications hold an important place in Hindu devotional practices. To devotees, goddesses offer models not only for expressing the potential of one’s own inner strength but also for realizing virtuous and pious conduct. Piety requires humility, determination, and morality, and women as devotees of gods and holy men can be understood as possessing this character trait. In this intimate exhibition, a selection of paintings from the museum’s collection focuses on three aspects of female power: as devout worshipers; as goddesses and consorts to male gods; and as ascetics (yoginis). The galleries nearby display additional manifestations of the goddess figure in sculptural form. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

A Billion Buddhas: The Awakened Cosmos of Himalayan Buddhism
Aug 9, 2016 - April 9, 2017

We have selected five Tibetan paintings from our collection to illuminate the countless roles that Buddhas play in Himalayan religious thought and practice. You’ll meet the historical Buddha Shakyamuni; the blue Medicine Buddha, who specializes in healing; red Amitabha, who presides over the paradise known as the “Land of Bliss” (Sukhavati); and stunning “meditation deities” (yidam), often depicted as male and female deities in sexual union. The paintings on view in A Billion Buddhas are thangka paintings, sacred pictures that can be rolled, transported and stored. Because they are fragile and fade easily, they can only be exhibited in our gallery for a limited amount of time. A few of these paintings are on display for the very first time, so don’t miss this rare chance to see them. Organized by the Asian Art Museum. 

Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China's Han Dynasty

Feb 17–May 28, 2017

One of the most powerful civilizations of the ancient world, China’s Han dynasty achieved profound cultural and artistic influence, technological advancements and military might. Two thousand years later, discoveries of royal tombs allow us to glimpse these extraordinary accomplishments firsthand.

Emulating their grand palaces, Han royals built lavishly furnished tombs so that, in the afterlife, no need would go unmet. Daily utensils, kitchen vessels, royal symbols, weaponry and even toiletries were all accounted for. And the nobility spared no expense preserving the tools of earthly pleasures — food, music, wine, sex — in anticipation of an afterlife to surpass this world. 

On view for the first time in the U.S., 160 rare selections from recent excavations — including a jade coffin, rare bronze bells, elaborate crafts and much more — share the extravagance, artistry and elegance of Han royal clans. The Asian Art Museum is the only venue for this exhibition. Organized by the Asian Art Museum and the Nanjing Museum.

The Sculptural Turn: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Kempner and Stein Collection
Nov 9, 2016 - Jun 4, 2017

The Sculptural Turn
 showcases the work of fourteen Japanese clay artists, all born after World War II, whose work expands on early twentieth-century experimental forms. Unlike previous generations of Japanese potters who learned exclusively from master craftsmen, these artists studied in universities and in many cases came to ceramics after exploring other fields. They are masters of technique, material, and concept. Their practices are informed by various cosmopolitan sources, even when they are part of a longstanding family lineage or regional tradition. Drawn together by collectors with an eye for abstract, minimalist, and expressionistic contemporary art, this exhibition tells a story of the changing character of clay in Japan.
 Organized by the Asian Art Museum.  

Hung Yi: Dragon Fortune

If you’ve visited us recently, it’s unlikely you missed the playful creature standing sentry at our steps: a hulking, psychedelic dragon painted in every color of the rainbow, from its fiery horns down to its checkered purple sneakers. Taiwanese artist Hung Yi’s Dragon Fortune meshes together Taiwanese folk art, Japanese textile design, pop art and children’s cartoons, breathing vibrant colors and auspicious blessings right onto our doorstep.

Collected Letters: Liu Jianhua Installation


As a 50th anniversary gift to the museum, the Society for Asian Art has commissioned a major work by Liu Jianhua, one of China’s best-known contemporary ceramic sculpture artists. The work comprises approximately 2,500 pieces of white porcelain formed into letters of the English alphabet and components of Chinese characters, suspended from the ceiling of the second-floor Loggia. The artist provides only the building blocks of words, leaving it to viewers to create meaning. The artwork’s location is especially apropos: the space offers an opportunity for dialogue with the original engraved literary quotations on the Loggia’s walls, dating to the building’s previous incarnation as San Francisco’s Main Library. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Asian Art Museum Collection Galleries

More than 2,500 extraordinary works from the museum’s renowned collection are displayed in the second- and third- floor galleries. Together these works constitute a comprehensive introduction to the major cultures of Asia. Immense Indian stone sculptures, intricately carved Chinese jades, vibrant Korean paintings, mystical Tibetan thangkas (ritual paintings on cloth), serene Cambodian Buddhas, richly decorated Islamic manuscripts, and colorful Japanese kimonos are just a few of the treasures on view. Every six months, the museum refreshes dozens of artworks from each geographic region with new selections from storage, providing visitors a unique perspective on each visit. These items are indicated with “Newly on View” tags on the labels.

Dates and exhibitions are subject to change. Please visit www.asianart.org to confirm information.

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco's premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.

Information: 415.581.3500 or www.asianart.org.

Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Hours: The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM, with extended hours during spring and summer until 9 PM. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

General Admission: FREE for museum members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youths (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. General admission on Thursdays after 5 PM is $5 for all visitors (except those under 12, SFUSD students, and museum members, who are always admitted FREE). General admission is FREE to all on Target First Free Sundays (the first Sunday of every month). A surcharge may apply for admission to special exhibitions.

Access: The Asian Art Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information regarding access: 415.581.3598; TDD: 415.861.2035.