Maps and routes
Maps and routes
South Asia and Southeast Asia GALLERY
The South Asia gallery houses collections from three major cultural geographic areas: Gandhara, India and Indochina.
Gandhara is the geographical term for an area between Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. The same term denotes the Buddhist-inspired artistic production that flourished in the area between the second century BCE and the fifth century CE. In addition to the friezes from the great Butkara stupa, that was discovered in the Fifties by the excavations of the Piemonte section of IsMEO, the Gandhara section displays a series of recently purchased schist, stucco and terracotta statues.
India This section displays artwork inspired by Hinduism and Buddhism from Kashmir, India and East Pakistan. The stonework, bronzes, pottery and paintings on cotton span a period from the second century BCE to the nineteenth century. The Indian art rooms contain reliefs and sculptures from the second century BCE to the fourteenth century CE, and include examples of Shunga, Kushana, Gupta and medieval Indian art.
Southeast Asia Despite reflecting strong Indian influences, artwork from the area that includes Thailand, Myanmar, Viet Nam and Cambodia expresses iconographical conventions and stylistic features that are determined by the cultural history of these countries. The Southeast Asia rooms contain Thai, Cambodian and Burmese art as well as important sculptures from the Khmer period.
China's millennial history and its control of vast territories generated a great variety of art forms. However, thanks to its centralised political structure and the organic nature of its cultural models, it can be characterised in a generally homogeneous way.
The Chinese Gallery contains ancient Chinese art from 3000 BCE to approximately 900 CE, with Neolithic pottery, ritual bronzes, pottery, c and terracotta. Over two hundred examples of funerary art from the Han and Tang periods are also on display.
Japan’s artistic production reveals the originality of what developed from the merging of refined traditional craftsmanship with an almost religious respect for the intrinsic qualities of materials, together with a willingness to welcome outside elements issued from the highest levels of cultural expression.
Buddhist-inspired statues (from the twelfth to the seventeenth century) can be found in the rooms dedicated to Japan, together with magnificent screens from the early seventeenth century, paintings and polychrome woodblock prints and a rich collection of finely worked lacquer objects.
The art of the Himalayan countries (Ladakh, Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan) shares a common Tantric version of Buddhism from which emerges a worldview that influences architecture, statues, painting, books and ritual instruments. The Himalayan Gallery displays notable collections of wood and metal sculptures, ritual instruments, tempera paintings dating from between the twelfth to the eighteenth century, and a series of carved and painted wooden sacred texts covers.
The Islamic section of the museum displays works from the Middle East, Persia, Turkey and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The collections include bronzes, ceramics and manuscripts, with particular emphasis on the aesthetic value of calligraphy.
The gallery presents a rich collection of pottery and glazed tiles that illustrate the evolution of ceramic production from the ninth to the seventeenth century.