The Rijksmuseum’s collection of Asian art encompasses close to 8000 objects. This amount is actually modest given that Asia is the largest continent on earth, with more than 50 different countries, from Afghanistan to South Korea. The four key regions represented in the collection are: China, Japan, India, and Indonesia combined. The museum collects the best possible examples of Asian art from all of these regions and from all periods.
Many of these objects were made for local patrons and thus give an idea of the kinds of (art) objects that were considered important in Asia itself. They range from paintings, prints, sculptures and temple ornaments to lacquer boxes, jewellery, funerary urns, tea bowls and miniatures.
Other objects were made for export to Europe and thus reflect a more Western taste.
The Rijksmuseum is the only museum in the Netherlands that collects Asian art- ethnology museums tend to concentrate more on culture. A significant part of the Asian art collection is a long-term loan from the Vereniging van Vrienden der Aziatische Kunst.