Archive for 'Museum Store'

Holiday Gift Guide

Enjoy some art and get your holiday shopping done too! The Asian Art Museum offers all kinds of items that are perfect for kids and adults alike. Feel good knowing that all purchases support the museum’s educational programs and exhibitions, as well as the individual artists and their communities.

Check out our gift guide for a sampling of what you can find:

Zen Out

Buddha BoardBuddha board: Based on the Zen concept of living in the moment, paintings created on Buddha boards last just a moment or two. Using water, you can write or paint on the special paper, watch the image darken and then slowly fade away. Each Buddha Board comes with a brush and water tray. $12.95–$34.95

Korean Tea HankookKorean tea by Hankook Tea Company: Choose from more than 10 flavors, ranging from light green teas to full-bodied doo mool jaksul cha to the fragrant herbal teas of persimmon leaf.  The founder of the tea company, Yang Won Suh, was appointed the 34th Grand Master of Traditional Korean Foods by the Republic of Korea, awarded for superior production of hwang cha and matcha.  $10–$20

Homey Goodies 

Hand Carved Chops Stone SealsHand-carved chops. Created by the museum store’s resident artist Jun Pei Cui, these beautiful soapstone seals are a truly unique gift. Each hand-carved seal represents its owner through the use of a name, a phrase or an image. Cui is available Saturday and Sundays from 1–5 p.m. to help select and design the seal for recipients. $30 and up

Raised Bell Cup Set KwangJuYoRaised bell cup set: Korean ceramic company KwangJuYo reinterprets traditional Korean ceramics with a modern twist in this cup set from the Weolbaek (Moon white) collection. These cups are traditionally given in pairs as wedding gifts. Set of two porcelain cups in a wooden gift box. $70

Asian Art Museum cookbooksCookbooks. We carry over 60 cookbooks that span the entire continent. Learn to make dishes that range from comfort foods to innovative delectables. No matter the skills of the chef, there is a book for every budget.

Korean Jewelry BoxKorean jewelry box. Imported from Korea for In Grand Style, these jewelry boxes feature exquisite mother-of-pearl inlay. They open to reveal four small drawers. Available in six elegant designs. $100 (Member’s Price: $90)

Playful Toys

Stuffed Rhino DollStuffed rhino doll. The stuffed rhino doll resembles one of the most treasured objects in the museum’s collection. More than 3,000 years old, the bronze rhinoceros vessel is among the most celebrated ancient Chinese bronzes in the world. $25

Princess Sunyong DollPrincess Sun-yong doll. This limited-edition princess doll is designed by Bay Area artist and Asian Art Museum docent Pauline Tsui. The doll is adorably dressed in bright pink traditional Korean clothing (hanbok) with an embroidered carrying pouch that you can tuck her into. For ages 3 and up. $45

Wood Robot FigureWood robot. Designed in Korea, this all-natural figure will entertain children and adults alike. Crafted from four types of wood, the figure has a linseed oil finish that highlights the natural colors and grains of the material. We’ve got plenty of other gifts great for kids. $25 (Members price: $22.50)

All Around Appeal

Store-Tied RocksTied Rocks by Shizu Okino. Bay Area artist Shizu Okino combines the natural beauty of river stones and the intricate patterns of bamboo woven in traditional Japanese basket motifs to create Tied Rocks, unique gifts sure to please both traditionalists and contemporary fans. $25–$95

Luna Lee albumLuna’s New Solo Album. Korean YouTube sensation Luna Lee debuts her solo album featuring the gayageum, a zither-like string instrument.  The album features original songs as well as notable covers of classics by Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan. $12.98 (Members Price: $11.68)

See something you like or still looking for just the right thing? Come in and peruse our full selection. We’ve got wonderful wares as diverse as their price tags. The store is open during regular museum hours and doesn’t require paid admission – just let them know you’re there for some retail therapy. Happy holidays!

Your Handy Dandy Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re still working on your holiday shopping, make our museum store the ultimate destination. Our wonderful wares are as diverse as their price tags, so you’re bound to find the perfect gift for the special people in your life. Here are some ideas for your gift giving needs:

Get Cozy

Who doesn’t like a warm pot of tea?  Brew a single serving with inlaid celadon (delicate, pale green ceramic) teacups from Korea. Got company? Share with Chinese Yixing (clay) or Japanese iron teapots. Get the most out of your brew with books detailing the history and highly codified ritual that surround the noble camellia sinensis, or just learn exactly how long you should be steeping your oolong.

Books on tea shown, $16.99-$32.50
Tea vessels, $30+
Tea whisk, $18.00

Practice, Practice, Practice

Begin your Chinese instruction one stroke at a time: Buddha Boards and Chinese Character a Day get you just a little closer to your goal of mastering the art.  If you’ve practiced calligraphy, you’ll know your mistakes can add up.  With the Buddha Board, all you need is water—your less-than-perfect work will evaporate, leaving you with a clean slate.  Chinese Character a Day offers 365 days of education: the journey begins when you want to begin.

Buddha Boards, $12.95-$34.95
Chinese Character a Day, $16.95

Make Your Own Adventure

Stir up storytelling time with robots.  Build Your Own Paper Robots comes with a CD that allows you to print 2D paper into 3D mecha fun.  Great for older kids or anyone with engineering acumen.  For fans of readymade cubic construction, Monster Village Sets include over 90 blocks that can make mobile monsters (includes manga storybook/instructions, not for children under age 3).

Build Your Own Paper Robots, $9.98
Monster Village, $27.50

Shine and Sparkle

Dim days and long nights call for a little added brightness.  Calligraphic-inspired jewelry in rhodium-plated silver glows white-hot.  Next to platinum, rhodium is the hardest of metals, ensuring that these one-of-a-kind pieces won’t tarnish or corrode.


Eighth Wonder: Eight Gifts

As you’re getting ready for the holidays, we’re getting ready to welcome the Terracotta Warriors to the west coast. Sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World, Xi’an’s famous denizens are unique and awe-inspiring. They will be appearing at the Asian Art Museum from February 22, 2012—perfect timing for a memorable holiday gift. Here are eight gift ideas to get your holiday shopping underway:

1. The most economical way to see the warriors is to become a member of the museum. Memberships start at $75 for a year of free entry for two adults (children under 12 are always free). Special exhibitions are always free for members.

2. If you’re a planner, you could grab some advance tickets for the exhibition. Tickets are already selling fast, so lock in your preferred date now. Adults $20 weekdays, $22 weekends (children under 12 free).

3. Big family? Bunch of friends? Book a group visit, with discounted admission for groups of 10 or more (adults $18 weekdays, $20 weekends). To make the experience really special, add a private tour of the exhibition.

Maybe you like a gift you can put a bow on. Luckily, the museum store is full of beautiful items—many of them artworks in their own right—for all ages.


4. Sterling silver jewelry from Johnson Hui  These hand-crafted pendants recall the graceful movements of calligraphy. Sleek and contemporary, each piece is unique and will add a dramatic look for a special occasion. $100 – $475

5. Zen Collection Jewelry.  Inspired by forms and designs of the Qin Dynasty, these sterling silver pieces are rhodium plated.  Rhodium, a member of the platinum family of metals, has been used for centuries to plate jewelry to create vibrant pieces.  Rhodium gives a very bright finish without the need to polish and is hypoallergenic. The collection includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets and even cufflinks. $25 – $185

6. Buddha Boards. Enjoy practicing your calligraphy or just painting to watch the board transform.  Slowly the image fades to create a blank canvas for new inspirations. Each set includes the Buddha Board, brush and water tray/stand. Everything you need for hours of artistic enjoyment. $34.95

7. Batik scarves from Java.  These beautiful scarves use a combination of hand drawing and stamping to create delicate patterns before they are hand dyed in a several step process.  Lightweight and dynamic these scarves are a perfect gift. $20 – $135

Batik scarves8. Gifts for kids.  We have a wide range of stories, with over 100 titles that explore the tales and cultures from across Asia. Other gift ideas for our younger visitors include dolls, puppets, puzzles, language blocks and more.  Ask our staff about their favorites.

Water Stains on the Wall

Xu Bing in front of his video installation 'Character of Characters' at the Asian Art Museum

Xu Bing in front of his video installation ‘Character of Characters’

Our book on Xu Bing’s fascinating animation The Character of Characters will be arriving in the museum store soon.  Featuring essays by Britta Erickson, a leading expert on Chinese contemporary art, and by the artist, as well as a version of the actual animation, its arrival will be something to keep on your radar.

We have just finished translating Xu Bing’s essay, which makes clear the artist’s intellectual as well as artistic depth.  It follows the order of the animation and makes many aspects much clearer; it is also full of delightful and sometimes challenging references to writings from the past.  An example is the simple sentence: “The stroke’s force should convey the aesthetic sensibility of ‘water stains caused by rain on the wall of a country cottage’.”

If you’ve seen Out of Character already, that quotation may sound familiar. Included in the exhibition is a video of contemporary dance work Water Stains on the Wall, by Cloud Gate Dance Theater from Taiwan.

The title of Cloud Gate’s work and Xu Bing’s reference both derive from a legendary conversation between two of the most respected Chinese calligraphers of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907):

“Where do you get inspirations for your calligraphic style?” asked Yan Zhenqing, whose signature style of standard script brought Chinese calligraphy to a new height. “I observe summer clouds that resemble mountains with spectacular peaks,” replied Huaisu, the young monk who later became the most renowned master of wild cursive style. “The most exciting parts remind one of birds flying out of woods and snakes slithering into bushes. . .” “How about water stains on the wall?” asked Yan Zhenqing. “Right on! You old devil!” exclaimed Huaisu.

Water stains on a wall are the result of a long process of natural, organic, and fluid evolution. The legend of the conversation established “water stains on the wall” as a popular metaphor that represents the highest aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Inspired by this metaphor, choreographer Lin Hwai-min and the Cloud Gate dancers create an abstract work of spellbinding beauty and breathtaking technique that stands sublimely on its own.

We’re thrilled that in Out of Character you can experience both of these contemporary works in the context of the artform that inspired them. And be looking for the publication on Xu Bing’s The Character of Characters at the museum store soon.

Whose Space? Our Space!

An unusual rotation is taking place in the Museum Store, one that re-imagines space and meaning, collaboration and inspiration, politics and culture.  It all sounds rather weighty and intellectual, but in fact is the start of a really good time culminating in our next MATCHA on Thursday, July 26. Thanks to Space Bi, Bay Area artists will be Taking Up Space.

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The Maharaja Munchies

I don’t know about you, but food consumes my mind almost every waking moment (pun intended).

It should come as no surprise then, that when I had a long visit with our Maharaja exhibition (closing April 8), I got a bad hankering for Indian food. I loved this rich art going experience, gallery by gallery, beautiful object by beautiful object.

But you get hunger pangs from museum fatigue, and the craving is fueled when you see a jade wine flask here or a spice box there.

Maharaja's a superb exhibition, but it makes me hungry. Don't those cloth game board pieces look like Rolo chocolate candies?

This silver spice box, though intended for betel leaf stimulant use, prompted me to think about all the spices used in South Asian cooking

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Making the Connection: from Maharaja to Manjusha

Bay Area jewelry designer Jyotsna Singh is the granddaughter of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, whose extraordinary Cartier necklace is one of the stand-out pieces in our exhibition, Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts. We’re thrilled to be able to cement the family connection by offering some of Jyotsna’s Manjusha jewelry line in our store.

Manjusha, which means a treasure chest of jewels, presents collections of unique fusion jewelry that combine the majesty of the old with the intensity of the new.  Inspired by the beauty of royal Jadau designs, Jyotsna’s jewelry is reminiscent of a bygone era of royal palaces and princely extravagance.

Here, Jyotsna talks about her special relationship with jewelry and the experience of seeing her grandfather’s necklace for the first time.

Brand new, you’re retro

I’ve an admission to make: I’ve been playing a little game, waiting for someone to call me out on the fact that I’ve placed a book of 17th century paintings in a section reserved for contemporary South Asian art.  But you’ve got to admit: on the surface, it’s not an easy call.

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I Wayan Wija



Although you might guess that things around the Museum are winding down–we’ve less than a month of the Bali exhibition left–think again.

The rare opportunity to see noted puppet master I Wayan Wija brings an added benefit: Wija has brought a number of his puppets and miniatures, several of which will be available in the Museum Store through his Asia Alive residency, which runs until August 28th.

Current favorites include the frogs and lion (with wagging tail), and quite a few of the miniatures, which are essentially small, unmounted paintings done in the style of the wayang (puppets).

Ratih, the Balinese goddess of romantic love and lust...and everlasting pleasure

Ratih, the Balinese goddess of romantic love, lust, & everlasting pleasure

Unicorns: why not?
Beauty & self-esteem

And then there’s my personal favorite:

Because komodos in love are the best kind

If you can’t make one of the performances or talks, stop by the Museum Store to see the work of one of the world’s greatest living masters.

Language of Cloth: Behind the Scenes

cap from Asi's collection

When someone mentions Bali and Java, what do you see?  Some speak of impossibly verdant jungle broken by blue expanses of sea and sky, sharp-toothed deities in wood and stone, dancers dripping with gold ornament, the press of tourists.

Perhaps because I have never visited Indonesia, I tend to think of its art and craft, the dislocated souvenirs of Paradise.  Like the pieces on view in the galleries, they’re my link to places I may never visit, and so become microcosms of a word-of-mouth world.  But there’s one thing I don’t need imagination for, and that’s batik.

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