Museums of the Far East

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Template:Use dmy dates Template:Infobox museum The Museums of the Far East (Template:Lang-fr, Template:Lang-nl) is the name of a complex of three museums in Laken, Belgium dedicated to oriental (specifically Chinese and Japanese) art and culture. Both are run under the direction of the Royal Museums of Art and History.


The idea for an outdoor display of oriental buildings, open to the public on the site, originated with King Leopold II, who had been particularly impressed by the "Tour du Monde" panorama at the Paris World Exhibition.<ref name=History>Template:Cite web</ref> The French architect Alexandre Marcel was commissioned to build a Japanese pagoda (known as a T?) in 1901, and it was later inaugurated in 1905.<ref name=History/> The Pagoda stands nearly 50 metres tall, across the road from the rest of the museum buildings.

Work on a larger Chinese Pavilion began in 1905. The building was intended to be a restaurant, but never served the purpose for which it was intended. In 1909, the original plan for a museum was abandoned and the building was donated to the Belgian state, where it served as part of the Trade Museum of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.<ref name=History/> From 1947 until 1989, the whole area was closed to visitors.<ref name=History/>

The Museums' section on Japanese art is housed in a building near the Chinese pavilion, originally intended to serve as a stable and garage.


One of the focuses of the museum's collection, Chinese porcelain, is housed in the Chinese pavilion. The collection focuses on Chinese art originally designed for export to the west.

The museum's collection of Japanese art, only recently opened to the public, displays several suits of Samurai armour, Netsuke and decorative sword hilts, as well as prints and other artefacts.

Temporary exhibitions are also regularly held at the museum.



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