Currently, only selected museums, exhibitions and institutes of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin are open to the public. Read more


From its inception, the Museum für Asiatische Kunst has not only been a place of learning for the public, but for scholars too. It had a decisive influence in establishing the subjects of East-Asian and Indian art history at German universities, and with its 'Ostasiatische Zeitschrift', which first appeared in 1912, has made and continues to make a valuable contribution to publishing one of the world’s leading scholarly journals in the field. Its partner journal, the 'Indo-Asiatische Zeitschrift' has been in circulation since 1997.

The traditional and still most important task of the museum is the preservation and care of its collections. This entails them being made accessible to the public through research, documentation, and the publishing of information on collection contents. Through its permanent and temporary exhibitions, the museum raises awareness of and disseminates knowledge on the art of the Asian cultural region.

In addition to collection-related research, the museum is also involved in special research projects that centre on art-historical matters. It plays an important role in spreading and sharing knowledge with other national and international museums and research institutions. The Museum für Asiatische Kunst is active at the point where art, education, and science intersect and intermesh. It simultaneously serves as an intermediary between the research culture of the West and scholarship in the East. This forms the underlying basis for its many collaborative projects and the scholarly interaction in which it partakes in the areas of art history and Asian studies in the West and East.

Research projects at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst

In cooperation with the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, the museum’s Collection of South, Southeast and Central Asian Art preserves the extensive manuscript collection amassed over the four Central-Asian Turfan (or Turpan) expeditions that took place from 1902 to 1914. The process of cataloguing the manuscripts is approaching completion.

In this special project the 21, now exceedingly fragile volumes brought back by the Turfan expeditions, collectively referred to as the Turfan Files, have been scanned and catalogued. In an index file, the contents of each of the around 8000 pages have been briefly outlined and tagged according to place name, personal name, and any other important terms they may contain. Orientalists and historians can thus gain, at a glance, insight into the material, which is not only of relevance to scholars of Central Asia but for anyone interested in the history of science and museology, as the material sheds light on historical administrative procedures, licensing and permissions procedures, budgeting questions, and hierarchical structures.

Contact: Dr. Caren Dreyer