Feast your eyes on jades, bamboo carvings, bronzes, lacquer and ceramics – this unique museum is situated in a converted Georgian town house in central Bath.
This is the only museum in the UK solely dedicated to the arts and cultures of East and Southeast Asia. Its impressive collection consist of some 2,000 objects. The majority of these are of Chinese origin, spanning from 5,000 BC to the present. The collections also contain artefacts from Japan and Korea and a number of countries in South East Asia. Frequent special exhibitions and a rich events programme help deliver the museum’s aim of encouraging greater understanding of East and Southeast Asian arts and cultures.
The Museum was founded by Brian McElney OBE, a prominent former lawyer and long-time resident of Hong Kong. After his retirement to the UK, Brian donated his collection to form the Museum which opened to the public in 1993 as an education charity. The collection has been added to by long-term loans and donations by the public over the years.
The collection of Chinese art is particularly comprehensive, covering ceramics, jades, bronzes and much more.
The museum also holds some of the finest bamboo and wood carvings in Europe. Apart from the core collection donated by the founder Brian McElney, other collections have been given to the Museum. Most notable are some 100 ceramics from Dr Sydney Smith and art dealer Bluett & Sons and over 80 snuff bottles from Lieutenant Colonel FRD and Mrs DA Minnett. In addition, the Museum has received other smaller donations as well as purchasing several objects with the help from Art Fund.