The V&A’s Asian collection include objects from East Asia, South and South-East Asia, and the Middle East. They are rich in a broad range of artistic media and illustrate many different aspects of religious, courtly and everyday life, from textiles, paintings and sculpture to jewellery, photography and ceramics.

Read about our latest acquisitions, research and behind the scenes work on this incredible collection.

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GUEST POST: My Qur’an pendant from Syria

My collection of talismans and amulets  © Victor Borges

Victor Borges is a Senior Sculpture Conservator at the V&A. One day when I was delivering an object to Victor in Sculpture Conservation I noticed he was wearing a chain full of small and curious pendants. Looking at it closer, I suddenly noticed a beautiful small gold pendant in the shape of a Qur’an with Arabic inscriptions. […]

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British Ceramics in Bangkok

Fig. 2 Plate with painted decoration and maker’s mark on base, Wedgwood & Co. Ltd., Stoke-on-Trent, © Sau Fong Chan

During a recent study trip to mainland Southeast Asia researching the local textile and ceramic traditions, twice I came across some 19th-century European ceramics in Bangkok. First at the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum at Bangkok University where I had arranged to view some foreign trade ceramics found in Thailand. To my surprise the Museum holds […]

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The Way that Can Be Spoken: Calligraphic Performance by Wang Dongling

Wang Dongling writing out the text of his calligraphic performance

On Wednesday night London Craft Week welcomed the accomplished Chinese calligrapher Wang Dongling 王冬齡 to their glamorous launch party at the V&A. Professor Wang, who teaches at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, was invited to this celebration of makers and making to perform before a live audience. He took the stage with a […]

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The Moroccan Fashion Project: an insight into the acquisition process

Museum no. ME.5:1 to 4- 2015 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Amongst the many exciting tasks that I have to undertake as an assistant curator in the Middle East section of the Asian Department is the responsibility of dealing with the logistics of all new acquisitions. Every year, the V&A acquires hundreds of objects from different people all over the world. Last year, amongst these acquisitions […]

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Gold, lacquer and mirrors: a figure of the Buddha from Burma

The mask was carved separately and then held in place with nails.

By Adriana Francescutto and Victor Borges, Sculpture Conservation. Here in the sculpture conservation studio, we have recently begun the treatment of an 18th to early 19th century standing figure of the Buddha. It came originally from the Kyaik Than Lan pagoda in Moulmein, Burma. It depicts the Buddha standing on a lotus bud, in a […]

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‘Nu’ Shabtis – Liberation

Zahed Taj-Eddin and Djed pillar

Syrian archaeologist and ceramic artist, Zahed Taj-Eddin, has recreated the ancient Egyptian technology of faience – an artificial ceramic body made using crushed quartz, and glazed by different methods using mineral-based glazing powders which bond with the body during the firing process. In particular, a copper compound creates the distinctive turquoise colour that we most […]

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Designing the Damascus Room display


By Kate Beaumont, exhibition designer I enjoyed working with Mariam on the Damascus Room case. Despite the relatively short amount of time to design and deliver the project, the design process itself was reasonably straight forward, and helped by Mariam’s clear direction in terms of objects and approximate layout. The aim was to reuse and […]

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Japanese meisen dyeing

Meisen kimono from the V&A collection

On a recent visit to Japan I had the opportunity to visit Isesaki, a town in Gunma Prefecture about 95km north-west of Tokyo that is known for the production of a type of fabric called meisen. The development of meisen in the early decades of the twentieth century brought modern kimono fashions within the reach […]

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Japanese stencil dyeing

Making the rice paste

I travelled to Tokyo recently to attend a symposium hosted by Bunka Gakuen, one of the world’s leading fashion colleges. As well as days of formal events, the organisers had kindly arranged various visits for the participants, one of which was to a dyeing workshop in Hachiōji. This town is about 40 kilometres west of […]

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Toshiba Gallery – From Renovation to Innovation

Japanese print by Shigenobu (Hiroshige II) depicting Nakano Street in the Yoshiwara district of Edo (Tokyo) during cherry blossom season.

The Japanese concept of ‘mono no aware’ is central to Japanese aesthetics. It is usually translated as ‘the pathos of things’ and is used to describe the beauty of the ephemeral. The cherry blossom, which blooms for only a few weeks, is highly valued in Japan because of its transience. It is fitting that as […]

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