Global Lives of Objects

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In celebration of the centenary in 2023 of the National Museum of Asian Art, this new volume explores a range of artistic, historical, and technical exchanges that shaped the arts of Asia and late 19th-century America, through the juxtaposition of object based, localized micro-histories.

Written by curators, scientists, conservators and other museum staff, this multifaceted work explores issues of the circulation of materials, objects and technology which have long predated the contemporary period. This approach encourages readers to appreciate well known masterpieces as well as lesser known and unpublished works from a new perspective and focus on networks of artistic, cultural and historical connections that shaped their meaning and significance. A richly illustrated volume which features 33 short essays, each taking a single object as a starting point to unravel complex, interconnected, global histories.

Museum Story

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art, opened to the public in 1923, a gift to the nation from Charles Lang Freer. The Gallery contains an extensive collection of oriental art, prints, sculpture and silk panels, as well as a major group of 19th and 20th century American works.


  • Paperback
  • 248 pages
  • Color illustrations throughout
  • 10" x 8.9"