Moscow is the capital of Russia. It is, without a doubt, one of the main tourist destinations in Russia tour. Many people have chosen Moscow as their leading destination during their travel to Russia due to various reasons. One of the main reasons was the history that lies in this magnificent city. There are many ancient sites, architectural tourist attractions, and museums in Moscow that people would love to visit during their travel to Russia. One of these museums is the State Museum of Oriental Art. Although Eastern art was not very attractive to the Russian Empire before the October Revolution, the Soviet government took the opportunity to use everything in its power to attract newly established independent republics in East and Central Asia to itself. One of the main tasks that the Soviet government gave to its officials was to create an Oriental art museum, mainly as a propaganda gesture, in the new capital of the Soviet Union.
The State Museum of Oriental Art was established in Moscow in 1918, only a few months after the October Revolution. Before that, there were no institutes for Oriental studying in Moscow. The main reason behind establishing the institute and museum was to use it as a propaganda gesture to show their concern for the newly independent republics in the east of the USSR. However, the museum director and the institute’s workers were genuinely concerned about the Easter and middle Asia cultures. The institute was developed by Pavel Muratov, who was one of the most excellent Russian historians. Muratov’s work was supported by museum expert and art historian, Igor Grabar. The museum is housed in the former home of the Lunin family, which was seized after the revolution. Lunin Family was famous in Russia and had Russian Classical building as their primary residence in Moscow. The most famous person in that family would be Mikhail Lunin, a poet, soldier, and one of the Decemberist Movement leaders in 1825. The first exposition in the museum was based on the art of the East Soviet nations. In 1925, the museum name was changed to the Institute of Oriental Art, before that, it was called Ars Asiatica. Although the institute had a deficient scientific activity up to 1929 and was about to be closed due to that fact, by moving to a new establishment in 1929, the scientific activity of the museum grew and opened its first exhibition in 1930.
The Museum of Oriental Art is one of the most significant cultural institutes in the world that has dedicated its work to research, preserve, and display oriental art. Since 1970, the State Museum of Oriental Art locates in the center of Moscow, inside the building that once belonged to the Lunin family. The museum is quite active in educational and cultural activities, by holding various programs, such as tea ceremonies, workshops, music concerts, conferences, yoga classes, and displaying films and movies. The museum’s permanent exhibitions are quite impressive as well with collections about Japanese, Chinese, and Korean art, Vietnam and Southeast Asia art galleries, the Caucasus and Middle Asia fine art, Iranian, Indian, Buddhist countries of Central Asia, and many more galleries. If you visit this museum during your tour to Russia, you’ll find an excellent collection of paintings, decorative and applied art items, archeological and anthropological artworks. There’s also a rare collection of Buddhist sculptures, jewelry, textiles, antique weaponry, and wood and bone carvings. There’s a part in the museum dedicated to the life and works of the famous intellectual, poet and artist Nikolai Rerich, and his son Sviatoslav Rerich. Rerich had traveled the world, notably Eastern Asia, and even lived in a remote village in the Indian Himalayas. When you visit this museum during your travel to Moscow, you’ll find a collection of his vibrant and mysterious paintings, which worth the visit. However, there are still lots of other things that you can see in this museum during your tour to Russia, including various collections of artworks from different ages in history.
Japan is an island country, which often called “Land of the Rising Sun.” Because of its close relation with China and Korea, its culture mostly influenced by Chinese philosophy and aesthetics. However, the art and spiritual life in japan remained untouched by foreign culture and found its way. When visitors of Russia tour step inside this part of the museum, they’ll find almost 450 exhibits of artworks and handicrafts from the 11th century to the 20th century. This significant collection includes Buddhist wood sculpture, tea ceremony utensils, monochrome ink paintings, minimalistic sculpture, national dresses and swords, and lacquered ceramics.
Although Korean art wasn’t as famous as Chinese and Japanese art in the world until a few centuries ago, over the years, multiple art masterpieces were created in the Korean Peninsula that found their ways through world heritage collection. This part of the museum, as visitors of the tour to Russia will witness, covers the art and style of life of Korean people from the 1st century to the modern era, and includes sculpture, lacquerware, ceramics, painting, metals products, and national dresses and jewelry. By visiting this part of the museum during your tour to Moscow, you’ll get a general image of Korean art and their way of life and philosophy.
Probably the largest exhibition inside the Museum of Oriental Art that you visit during your travel to Russia is the Chinese exhibition. Though it’s younger than civilizations, such as Mesopotamia and Egypt, China has successfully maintained its traditions and art steady. With more than 20000 pieces of art and cultural work art, you can see the development of Chinese art and culture throughout history. If you’re interested in learning about Chinese culture and art during your Moscow tour, this is the place that you should visit.
Besides these four exhibitions that cover a massive part of Oriental art and culture, there are also exhibitions about Southeast Asia, Indian, Central Asia, Middle east and Arabia, and Iranian art, which you can visit during your tour to Moscow. We at the Star Travel Group recommend visiting this museum if you have any interest in oriental art because it’s the best place that you can have during your travel to Russia.