Giving Thanks for our Ancestors

November 28, 2013

For Father’s Day, we shared wonderful remembrances of fathers recorded in our exhibition The Art of Continuity: Revering our Elders. Today, we’re thankful for all our friends and family, and have collected some very poignant stories from our visitors. Want to share your own? Leave a comment below or visit the exhibition before it closes on January 5 to share your story.

Click on any image to enlarge and start the slideshow.


This Week at Pacific Asia Museum: November 25-December 1

November 25, 2013

This Week at Pacific Asia MuseumThere’s something fun to do every week at Pacific Asia Museum! Below are some highlights for this week, and you can always see a full schedule of events on our website.

Happy Thanksgiving to US: We’re closed on Thanksgiving Day so that our staff can enjoy the day with their families. Normal hours apply for the rest of the week.

Happy Thanksgiving to YOU: From November 29 through December 1, it’s Member Appreciation Days! Members get 20% off in our store, and free admission and discounts at other institutions across Southern California. Call our store for more details at ext. 20.

Take a Tour: Have holiday guests? Take advantage of our weekly Highlights Tour on Saturday at 1 p.m. for a 30-minute overview of our collection, included with admission. A great way to show off one of Pasadena’s great museums!

Last Chance for Constructed Visions

November 21, 2013

The second in our year-long series of contemporary Asian art exhibitions, Constructed Visions: New Media from Korea has been a crowd-pleaser. But it’s only here through Sunday, November 24! Brush up on the background of this exhibition with these previous posts, and hurry in before these fantastic pieces are gone.

Minkyung Lee, The Sink Room

Minkyung Lee’s “Constructed Visions Focused specifically on the work of Minkyung Lee, this describes the artist’s unique process and how her artwork fits into the greater exhibition.

Myoung Ho Lee, Tree 1

“Constructed Visions” Opens Tomorrow! Posted back in August before the exhibition opened, this gives a broad overview of the exhibition and highlights the work of Myoung Ho Lee in particular.

This Week at Pacific Asia Museum: November 18-24

November 18, 2013

This Week at Pacific Asia MuseumThere’s something fun to do every week at Pacific Asia Museum! Below are some highlights for this week, and you can always see a full schedule of events on our website.

Last Chance: The final day of Constructed Visions: New Media from Korea is Sunday, November 24. Don’t miss the chance to see these fantastic contemporary works in person! Read more here and here.

Coming Up: In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ll be closed on Thursday, November 28. We’ll be open during our normal operating hours the remainder of the week. See the full list of holiday closures here.

Reading Symbols in the new Chinese Gallery

November 14, 2013

Reading SymbolsAs we’ve mentioned before, our newly renovated Chinese Gallery features five thematic sections to guide you through the room, and encourage connections with similar themes in other galleries. Last time, we talked about “Status and Adornment,” and today we’re “‘Reading’ Symbols.”

Chinese art is rich in symbolism and the use of rebuses, or coded visual messages. This section illuminates how symbolism has deeply permeated Chinese art and its meaning for those who commissioned and lived with these objects. Wishes for longevity, health, happy marriage and many children, or success in important exams were conveyed through objects that were embellished with myriad symbols and visual puns. These items strongly suggest the attitudes and values of both those who gave the objects, as well as their recipients.

Double Cloisonné Vase

This vase form with two vertical vases joined by  a mythical bird standing on an animal is also known as a ‘champion vase’ (yingxiong bei) because an eagle (ying) and a bear (xiong) have a similar pronunciation with ‘hero’ (yingxiong).  The cloisonné panels on the sides of the vases are decorated with various auspicious motifs, such as rocks and chrysanthemums for longevity, and peonies and lotus for wealth and honor. When a phoenix appears together with peonies, it conveys wishes for wealth, rank and good fortune.


This large vase is decorated with a number of symbols in overglaze polychrome enamels, that when read together, convey wishes for longevity and blessings. Nine peaches (jiutao) are featured along with bats (fu as in the dish at left), sprays of nandina and lingzhi, or the fungus of immortality, in a densely layered pun to offer best wishes and hopes for a long life. The lingzhi resembles the ruyi scepter, a homophone for “ruyi” or “as you wish”. Nine (jiu) is a homophone for eternity (jiu) and fungus (lingzhi) suggests age (ling). This decorative scheme was popular in the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods and continued to be produced into the 19th century, particularly appropriate as a gift for birthdays. 

There are several more objects in this section, all with their own symbols to share. On your next visit, make time to enjoy these wonderful symbols and see if you can discover similar ones in other galleries!


Double Cloisonné Vase, Qing Dynasty (1644–1911); Qianlong Period (1736–1795), Bronze, gilt, enamel, wood, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Snukal, 1996.44.39

Vase, Qing Dynasty (1644–1911); 19th century, Porcelain, glaze, Gift to Pacific Asia Museum from Its Founding Director Professor Lennox Tierney, 2003.9.1

This Week at Pacific Asia Museum: November 11-17

November 11, 2013

IMG_0100BThere’s something fun to do every week at Pacific Asia Museum! Below are some highlights for this week, and you can always see a full schedule of events on our website.

Haiku: Practice counting your syllables and so much more! The Southern California Haiku Study Group holds its monthly meeting on Saturday, November 16 at 2 p.m. All are welcome!

Learn Something New: Our weekly classes continue! Whether you’re interested in yoga, Chinese brush painting, or the ukulele, we’ve got something for everyone. Check out our list of ongoing classes here.

Coming Up: Don’t forget about Member Appreciation Days over Thanksgiving weekend! Members get 20% off at the Museum Store here and at many other institutions across Southern California. Not a member? Join today!

It’s A Giving Time Of Year

November 7, 2013

At its heart, Pacific Asia Museum is an educational institution that helps the people of Southern California gain a better understanding of the cultures of Asia. As the only museum in Southern California dedicated exclusively to Asian and Pacific Island art and culture, Pacific Asia Museum has a unique capability to help the diverse communities of our region gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. But to continue, we need your help.

Whether you have experienced the museum through our Fusion Friday series, through the eyes of a child experiencing Asia for the first time, or by attending our popular Lunar New Year Festival, it’s hard to leave without having your life impacted in memorable ways.  That means that every year 40,000 lives have been uniquely enriched.  As a member of our community, your gift will provide this kind of experience for generations to come.

We need your help to continue these vital programs.  Your gift will support:

  • Free school tours of the museum and hands-on workshops for thousands of students.
  • Special Exhibitions sharing new perspectives on Asian art and culture through innovative and interactive displays. 
  • Preservation of our historic building, which, at almost 90 years old, is an essential part of the Pacific Asia Museum experience and history of Pasadena. 
  • Free Family Festivals sharing the cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands with the community through afternoons of live music, dance, performances and activities. 
  • Gallery improvements and conservation of our 15,000-piece collection spanning more than 4,000 years of history.
  • Educational programming for children and adults alike, including lectures, Silk Road Story Time, Authors on Asia, Art & Coffee and more.

Gifts in any amount are greatly appreciated, so please donate today. Thank you for your continued support of Pacific Asia Museum and the vital role it plays in our community.