Museum of East Asian Art

Feast your eyes on jades, bamboo carvings, bronzes, lacquer and ceramics - this unique museum is situated in a restored Georgian house in central Bath.

It is the only museum in the UK dedicated solely to the arts and cultures of East and Southeast Asia. Its impressive collection includes over 2,000 objects spanning 5,000 BC to the present day, encompassing pieces from China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Many of the objects in the museum were collected over many years by lawyer and collector Brian McElney OBE, who donated his vast collection acquired during his time living in Hong Kong. He set up the museum as an Education Charity in 1990. Since then, the museum's collections have been added to by donations and new acquisitions.

Permanent collections

The museum holds some of the finest bamboo carvings in Europe. Colourful bowls, intricately decorated plates, elegant vases and delicate figurines are all to be found in the impressive ceramics collection.

The jade collection is the most comprehensive in the UK, and includes beautifully crafted animal figurines as well as abstract pieces. One stand-out item is the jade bi-disc  with notches and teeth from the Neolithic period, Shandong or Henan Longshan culture (c.2300–1700BC).

There's a wealth of bronze items, such as the gilt brass Ratnasambhava, patron saint of Nyingmapa sect, made in 18th-century Mongolia.

Art Funded works

 Look out for the tureen with the arms of Pratt, made c. 1800, an important acquisition which we helped with in 2010. 

 In Japan a Tanuki is a kind of racoon dog. The museum's porcelain figure of a Tanuki was given through the Art Fund by David and Anne Hyatt King in 2010.


Visitor information

The museum puts on fun events for adults and kids, from Tibetan Buddhist art workshops to origami and lantern making sessions and film screenings. Complete your visit with a browse in the well-stocked museum shop. You can find cards, gifts and books along with high-quality handmade reproductions of ancient ceramics, exotic tea-sets, folk art and unique gifts from across Asia and the East, including items inspired by the museum's collection. New to the shop is a selection of handmade Fairtrade rugs and other felt products made by a woman's cooperative in Kyrgyzstan.

Art we've helped buy at Museum of East Asian Art

Venue details

Museum of East Asian Art 12 Bennett Street, Bath Somerset BA1 2QJ 01225 464640

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £5)

Tue – Sat,10am – 5pm
Sun, 12 – 5pm

Closed on Monday and Bank Holiday Mondays