Asia can be defined in many ways, geographically, culturally, and historically. As the world’s largest and most populated continent, Asia is not uniform or fixed: its boundaries shift, its people and cultures are diverse, and its histories are complex. After a transformative renovation, the Seattle Asian Art Museum—one of only a few Asian art museums in the United States—reopens with a presentation that embraces this complexity. You will not find galleries labeled by geography. Instead, works from different cultures and from ancient to contemporary times come together to tell stories about Asia in a non-linear narrative.
The galleries are organized around 12 themes central to Asia’s arts and societies such as worship and celebration, visual arts and literature, and clothing and identity. The south galleries feature art inspired by spiritual life and the north galleries show art inspired by material life. Some objects relate to both the spiritual and material realms and are a testament to art’s layered meanings.
Each artwork tells its own story of when, where, how, and why it was made. But when seemingly disparate artworks are displayed together, meaningful connections and questions emerge. Explore our renowned collection and discover ideas across time and across Asia.