The Oriental Art Museum is located in San Stae, in the old Baroque palace of the Pesaro family overlooking the Grand Canal. Inside there is one of the most important European collections of Japanese art of the Edo period (1615-1868) gathered at the end of the nineteen century by Enrico di Borbone during a journey to Asia. The almost 36.000 pieces of oriental art in the museum have been gathered by Prince Henry IV, count of bardi, during his journeys to the Far East between 1887 and 1889. Inaugurated in 1929 and improved over the years, the museum has also sections for China and Indonesia: porcelains, jades, vase lacquers (such as the urushi ones), fabrics and an important collection of weapons of the XII-XIX century.
The Oriental art museum in Venice is one of the most important collection of oriental art in Europe.
Since 1928 it is located at the third floor of Ca’ Pesaro, thanks to an agreement between the Italian State and the municipality of Venice, owner of the palace.
The collection is due to prince Henry of Bourbon, count of Bardi. From 1887 to 1889, during a long journey around the world with his wife Adelgonda of Braganza and a little entourage he visited the South-east Asia, China, Indonesia and Japan, buying nearly 30.000 objects. At his return in Venice, Henry of Bourbon placed his huge collection at Vendramin Calergi palace, where he lived during his stays in Venice. When he died, in 1906, the widow sold the collection to the Viennese antiquarian Trau, that started to sell it. During the First World War the collection, owned by an enemy subject, was seized and passed to the Italian government as compensation for the war damages.
In 1925 the collection was transferred in Pesaro palace. It was Nino Barbantini who organized the exposition in the beautiful baroque palace with frescoes and stuccoes: it was an heterogeneous collection of oriental art, above all Japanese art. For three years he worked hardly and the Museum was opened in 1928: it was a Japanese art exposition with important sections of Chinese and Indonesian art.
Nino Barbantini’s historical set up is still respected even if the exposition has been partly reshaped during some maintenance interventions to gain new spaces of storage for the most delicate artworks.
In the seven rooms dedicate to Japan it is possible to see weapons and amours belonged to the feudal lords of Edo period, lacquer stirrups and saddles, a rare sedan chair for ladies, paintings on silk and paper, precious silk textiles. Two rooms are dedicated to lacquer objects coming from the wedding supplies of the feudal lords’ daughters. The musical instruments are excellent pieces used for the execution of the principal kinds of traditional Japanese and Chinese music. The Japanese artworks belong above all to the Edo period, (from the name of the capital, Edo, nowadays Tokyo) or Tokugawa, from the name of the shōgun family that ruled the country for nearly 250 years assuring the peace to the archipelago and the complete isolation from foreign influences.
The Chinese section includes jade and porcelain of different manufactures, some historical instruments, coins and textiles. In the storage there are also many Quing bronzes, lacquered objects, pieces of furniture and paintings.
In the room dedicated to Indonesia you can find some rare kris, batik textiles and leather figures of wayang, the shadow theatre of Java.
ORIENTAL ART MUSEUM: Total surface sm. 1380; exposition sm 628; storage sm. 380, 10 exhibition areas.
There are information sheets in Italian and English, one video about the history of the collection Bardi collection from private collection to State museum (13’) and about the Japanese urushi Makie. Technique and restoration (9’) in Italian and English; a video about the Japanese Cha no yu and a video about the Indonesian wayang kulit.
Address: Santa Croce 2070
San Stae Venezia
Opening hours: from November 1st to March 31st 10 am – 5 pm (ticket office 10 am – 4 pm)
from April 1st to October 31st 10 am – 6 pm (ticket office 10 am – 5 pm)
Closed on Mondays, Dec. 25th, Jan. 1st, May 1st
Single ticket valid for Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art + Oriental Art Museum in Venice.
Full price: € 14,00
Reduced: € 11,50 * Children aged from 6 to 14; students aged from 15 to 25; coordinators (max. 2) for groups of children or students; citizens over 65; staff of the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo (MiBACT); holders of the Venice Rolling Card; FAI members; holders of ticket for Damien Hirst’s exhibition “Treasures from the wreck of the unbelievable” hosted at Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana (until 3 December 2017).
Free entrance: * Venetian residents; children aged from 0 to 5; disabled people with helper; enabled touristic guides and interpreters accompanying groups or individual visitors; for groups of at least 15 people, 1 free entrance (only with prior booking); accompanying teachers of school groups (up to 2 teachers per group); ICOM members; AMACI Card holders; MUVE ordinary partners; Servizio Civile volunteers; MUVE Friend Card holders, holders of “The Cultivist” card (plus three guests).
How to get there: Boat Line 1, San Stae stop.