Corfu Asian Art Museum
Corfu Asian Art Museum
Today, the Palace of Archangel Michael and St. George houses the Corfu Asian Art Museum, the only museum in Greece devoted exclusively to the art and antiquities of the Far East and India.It is the largest and the most significant building of the English rule period, which started in 1814 and ended in 1864 when the Ionian Islands were reunified with the rest of Greece.
It was built at the request of the then British Lord High Commissioner, Sir Thomas Maitland, to become his own luxurious residence and to house the High Commissioner’s administrative headquarters, which was until then located in the Old Fortress. In 1928, it was founded as a Sino-Japanese Art Museum on the occasion of the donation of the Sino-Japanese collection by Gregory Manos.
The collection contains some eleven thousand objects, the oldest from the 11th century BC. Artistic collections include Japanese printed pictures, Chinese porcelain, and Indian sculptures in bronze and other materials plus wood carvings.Some of the wood and bronze items are of superb quality and depict gods and goddesses engaged in erotic scenes.
The museum is set in the well-preserved rooms of the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, built during the British rule, with ornate furniture and decorations from that period.
Chinese Art Collection
The Corfu Asian Art Museum Chinese collection includes about 3,500 items. Most items come from the collection of Gregoris Manos, while the Chinese porcelain is taken from the Christos Chiotakis collection.These exhibits include pieces of pottery, porcelain, brass works of art, sculpture, cloisonné, lacquer objects, ivory, miniatures, clothing, jewellery and coins. A selection of the museum’s Chinese collection is exhibited in the east wing of the first floor.
Japanese Art Collection
The museum’s collection of Japanese art consists of about 6,200 items. The bulk of the collection comes from the Manos bequest (1927) and Hatzivassiliou bequest (1974)
The antiquities date from 10.500 to 300 BC to the 19th century AD. The Museum’s collection covers all periods of Japanese art as the origins of Japanese culture reach as far as the 6th century AD, while its continuation includes contemporary works of art, such as ceramics, which are made in the traditional manner by famous artists, known as living national treasures
South East Asia Collection
The art of Southeast Asia, with works from the Hatzivassiliou collection comes from India, Gandhara, Siam, Cambodia, Nepal and Tibet. The exhibits are religious figurines of stone, bronze, gold plated brass with precious stones and wood, and painted ceremonial flags. They trace the birth of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism in India and the subsequent spread of Buddhism into the surrounding areas. Additionally, the influence of Hellenistic art in the development of early Buddhist iconography and sculpture is examined.
The art of Southeast Asia is exhibited in the west wing of the first floor of the Museum.
Sources: Information and photos taken from http://www.matk.gr
Daily except Monday 08:00 – 16:00
Ticket: Standard fare €6