Inside Östasiatiska: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities
Holly Eells explores vibrant Östasiatiska which showcases Asian cultures, displays interesting exhibitions and runs creative programs for adults and children alike.
I have always been fascinated by Far Eastern culture – from traditions of art and paintings to ceramics and other decorative visuals. Over the years, this has inspired me to collect various pieces of Japanese pottery as well as Korean drawings.
So, I was very excited to visit Östasiatiska: The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities because very few museums in Europe can match their wide-range of rare collections. Here, you can discover over 5,000 years of Chinese history all under one roof.
Located on the beautiful island of Skeppsholmen right in the heart of Stockholm, The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities overlooks Stockholm Harbor and the Royal Palace. It is part of the four museums of World Culture in Sweden, with fellow museums Moderna Museet and ArkDes as neighbours.
The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities is housed in a renovated Navy supply store dating from the 18TH century. It was founded in 1926 and boasts fascinating history representing millennia of human ingenuity.
According to the Museum:
The collections derive from archaeological fieldwork carried out in the central and northwestern regions of China by the Swedish researcher Johan Gunnar Andersson.
The fieldwork was carried out during the period 1921 – 1926 in collaboration with Johan Gunnar Andersson’s Chinese colleagues such as Yuan Fuli (P. L. Yuan) and the Swedish Crown Prince, later King Gustav VI Adolf and Crown Princess.’
Since its opening, the Museum has offered free admission, and has developed and survived through donations and acquisitions.
Despite its small size, the Museum preserves more than 100,000 objects. Its rich collections are mesmerizing and consist primarily of archaeological material and historical art from China, Japan, Korea and South Asia.
The Museum has extensive permanent exhibitions and collections, including China’s History of Books, The Library, the South Asian Gallery and “China before China” which will walk you through 6,000 years of China’s intriguing history. The Korean Collection is also worth a look with roughly 700 objects dating from the 4th century (i.e. the Three Kingdoms Era) till the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
However, The Japanese Collection dominated my attention because of its specific cultural, historical and archaeological objects from the Edo Period (1615-1868) and the 19th century, which is of great interest to me personally. Nearly a third of the objects shown are weapons such as sword hand guards called Tsuba – very impressive. As a frequent tea drinker, it was fascinating to learn about The Tea Ceremony – from ceremonial preparation to the presentation of matcha.
After exploring the Museum’s beautiful historical objects, I recommend visiting the gift shop where you can find carefully selected objects mainly from Japan and China.
Word of warning- it is hard to resist!
The museum also hosts a Dragon Family Studio (a family room dedicated to creativity and discovery) and school guided programs. www.varldskulturmuseerna.se