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Corfu Museum of Asian Art, Greece

Corfu Museum of Asian Art, Greece     Corfu Museum of Asian Art, Greece

The Corfu Museum of Asian Art is the only museum in Greece exclusively dedicated to Far Eastern and Indian art and antiquity. The museum is housed in the Palace of Sts Michael and George.

The neoclassical, Georgian-style building is constructed in Maltese limestone and was built in the 19th century during the Ionian Islands British occupation. In 1864, following the Ionian Islands’ reunification with Greece, it became property of the Greek state, and since 1928 it houses the Museum of Asian Art.

The Palace is a three-floor building and the main entrance leads directly to the ground floor, where four halls are open to the public, the three used for the Museum’s temporary exhibitions and the fourth room, the Ionian Senate Conference Hall. The permanent galleries of the museum are found in the two first floor wings. In the east wing, also called the Gregorios Manos wing, part of the Museum’s Chinese collection is on display, while in the west wing, known as N. Hadjivassiliou wing, artefacts from India and its wider surrounding area, as well as from Japan are exhibited.

Gregorios Manos (1850-1928), a Greek ambassador to Austria, was the man who envisioned and founded the Museum. In the late 19th and early 20th century, he purchased at art auctions in Vienna and mainly in Paris approximately 9,500 Chinese, Korean and Japanese artefacts. He compiled a remarkable and complete collection, which he recorded and catalogued himself, with nearly scientific consistency. Thus, he could be fairly described as not just a simple collector, but, perhaps, as the first Greek authority on Far Eastern art.

G. Manos’ Sino-Japanese collection provided the opportunity for the foundation of the ‘Museum of Sino-Japanese Art’, while at the same time it became the centre of attraction for additional donations. The Museum boasts a collection of approximately 10,500 items of Asian art, coming (apart from the Manos collection) also from the private collections of N. Hadjivassiliou and C. Chiotakis, as well as from individual item donations made by I. Siniossoglou, P. Almanahos and I. Kollas. The Hadjivassiliou collection in particular added 400 works from India, Pakistan, Tibet, Siam and Northeast Asia, thus changing its strict Sino-Japanese character and resulting in its being renamed “Museum of Asian Art”.

Collection Size : About 10,500 objects

Collections:

China (Neolithic to 19th century): ceramics, bronzes, lacquer, painting, textiles, woodsculptures, items of precious materials, jewllery, etc.

Japan (4th-19th century): ceramics, bronzes, lacquer, painting, prints, textiles, everyday life items, Kabuki theatre masks, musical instruments, woodsculptures, glass and precious materials items, Samurai armour and weaponry, etc.

Korea (19th – 20th century) :ceramics, paintings

Balluch carpets and textiles

India (2nd century BC to 19th century AD) : stone, wood and bronze religious sculpture, miniature painting

Afganistan-Pakistan (2 century BC- 5th century AD): Gandhara grey schist buddhist reliefs

Nepal – Tibet (17th – 19th century) : bronze religious sculpture and painted votive banners

Some Southeast Asian sculptures

View all Asia-Europe Museum Network members from Greece

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Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia 

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