Where is the best place to see Asian art in the Bay Area?

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

A gem in the San Francisco Bay Area is The Asian Art Museum. With a vision: To make Asian art and culture essential to everyone, the museum was founded 50 years ago when nearly 8,000 artworks were donated to the city of San Francisco. After half a century of development, the Asian Art Museum is now often known as the home to one of the world's finest collections of Asian art.

When I first visited the museum in the summer of 2016, I was captivated by the special exhibit: Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art From the National Palace Museum, Taipei. One piece that attracted thousands of spectators was the "Meat-shaped stone". What looks extremely similar to a piece of braised pork belly, a typical dish on Chinese dinner tables, is a hard mineral known as banded jasper, naturally appearing with layers. The unknown artist(s) took advantage of this feature to stain the layers with different shades of brown, rendering it just like a piece of soy source stewed fatty pork that looks ready to eat. The devil's in the details: there are also dimples on the top of the stone, mimicking the pocketed marks of typical pork skin (from hair follicles).

The Asian Art Museum is now open with new safety guidelines. Plan a visit, you will have a great time!