London is undoubtedly the best place to enjoy Oriental art in the UK, but there are other fantastic venues outside of it too. Whether one is travelling around the UK as a tourist or wishes to spend a few days on a weekend trip, there are many destinations where one can enjoy world-class Asian art.
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is among the top museums of the UK. Its permanent collection contains many masterpieces of art from around the world, and its temporary exhibitions rival those of London’s museums. It is also home to amazing works of Oriental art. It’s Eastern Art Department has sculptures, textiles, ceramics and paintings from the Islamic Middle East, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India and the Himalayas. Some of the highlights are an outstanding collection of greenware pottery, considered to be the most essential collection of celadons outside of China. It also has an exceptional collection of paintings and prints from the modern era in China, which it has been collecting since the 1950s. The Japanese collection has one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century export porcelain.
The Museum of East Asian Art, Bath
Bath in Somerset is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an ancient place, with Roman baths and an abbey founded in the seventh century. It was a famous spa town in the Georgian era, which is still evident in the city’s dominant architectural style. The Museum of East Asian Art (MEAA) was opened in 1993, and it is the only museum in the UK which focuses only on East Asian art. It has around 2000 objects from more than 7000 years from East and South East Asia. The museum has a particularly impressive collection of Chinese art which includes ceramics, jades, bamboo and wood carvings, and bronzes. In addition to its exhibitions, the museum hosts research projects on various aspects of Asian life and cultures. One of these projects was “Eastern Voices in the West Country”; an oral history project that focused on exploring the history of Chinese immigrants in Bath. The project included interviews of Chinese immigrants who told about their experiences since the days of their arrival to becoming members of the local community. In addition to the discussions, the project organised an exhibition, featuring photographs and short films.