The splendid ‘Asian Civilization’ in Paris – Guimet National Museum of Asian Art

In Paris, talking about museums,
The first thing that comes to your mind is the Louvre, one of the four most famous museums in the world.
Or rebuilt on the original site of the train station – the Musée d’Orsay,
Or the building itself is seen as a work of art – the Centre Pompidou.
Those names that you have heard more or less, are not the protagonists of today. Because in Paris, there is always a museum you haven’t discovered! Today, I will take you to see the Musée d’Art Guimet in Paris, whose collections are all related to Asian memories.

Located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the Guimet National Museum of Asian Art was officially founded in 1889 by the Lyon industrialist Emile Guimet. It mainly displays the religious and cultural museums of Egypt, ancient Rome, Greece, China, Korea, Japan and other Southeast Asian countries.

The museum has a total of more than 60,000 collections, including more than 20,000 pieces of various Chinese cultural relics and artworks. Throughout the 5,000-year history of China, from the Neolithic Age to the Ming and Qing Dynasties, bronzes, jades, ceramics, sculptures, paintings and other works of art There are collections, with high cultural relic value!

In 1885, the Sino-French War ended, and the Qing government was forced to sign a series of unequal treaties due to its defeat, which led to the opening of the southwest gateway and the countries of the Indo-China Peninsula in China became colonies of France.
The so-called, born at the right time, as the heir of the industrial family “Ji Mei family”, Emile Gui Mei, obviously his interest in art is much more than the family business he wants to inherit. Material wealth gave birth to Jimei’s greater spiritual pursuit. After a trip to Egypt, his spiritual world was opened, and ancient eastern culture and religious beliefs touched his soul. He began to understand local customs and read books, constantly absorbing nutrients. After that, Yoshimi began his first Asian exploration trip from Japan, exploring the ancient and mysterious Eastern religious culture.

He then continued on his journey to India, Japan and China. In addition to the continuous acquisition of a large number of statues and artifacts on the road, the tremors and infiltration brought by the oriental civilization also subtly affected Jimei. He, who received the influence of Western aesthetics since childhood, was also deeply impressed by the aesthetics of oriental life and religious Zen.

But Emile Guimet himself cannot be completely equal to the Guimet Museum. In the process of the establishment and development of the museum, there are many great names, which together have created its brilliance. Among them, including the famous French sinologist and explorer’s “China hand” – Paul Percy.

Being proficient in linguistics, he went to China for inspections many times in the early 20th century, the most famous one being his trip to Dunhuang. Paul stole more than 6,000 kinds of documents from the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, in addition to more than 200 Tang Dynasty paintings and banners, fabrics, wood products, wooden movable type printing molds and other instruments. But it was also strongly condemned by Chinese scholars.

Today, the Khmer Civilization Pavilion on the first floor of the Jimei Museum houses the giant cultural relics of Angkor Wat; the second floor has Chinese Tibetan Buddhist art; in addition, the third floor and the fourth floor have art treasures such as Chinese Ming and Qing porcelain and jade. The China exhibition hall is divided into three parts: “Ancient China”, “Classical China” and “Buddhist China”.

The bronze wares of the Shang Dynasty are exquisite in workmanship and exquisite in casting technology. Has a strong artistic sense! This elephant statue is cast with a real elephant as a model, so it is lifelike, thick and sturdy, and finely decorated. It can be the “treasure of the town hall” of the Guimei Museum!

Another major category of well-known Chinese collections is porcelain, which is not only large in quantity but also spans a wide range of ages and is of exquisite quality.

As Sophie Macaleu once said: Every civilization has its weak points. Europe in the 19th century was the era of dominance, and it was the era when Europe had the most intensive collection of Chinese, Japanese and even Asian cultures, works of art and knowledge.