Zbraslav Chateau is now closed having been returned to its private owner and the Asian Art collection will be housed in Kinsky Palace; the exhibition will open in December 2009.
The history of Asian Art represented in Prague is not an extensive one, but an interesting one, and the city, even country, owes its respect and many thanks to a man named Lubor Hajek. He studied Religion and Indology at Charles University after WWII and was a self-taught historian of Asian Art, an obsession that started after his incumbency as editor for New Orient, a Czech magazine. In 1951 the National Gallery of Prague put Lubor Hajek in charge of establishing a new collection of Asian Art; acting on his own, he built a collection of over 12, 000 pieces and wrote numerous philosophical essays comparing the evolution of Asian Art and European Art. Unfortunately he was the last of the true Czech Orientalists, as his vast knowledge of Asian Art was unequaled in his peers and in Asian Art studies today. His impressive collection is housed at the National Gallery’s Zbraslav Chateau.
Zbraslav Chateau is the perfect location for the Asian Art collection of the National Gallery. It is a short easy bus trip to Zbraslav, and while you may feel as if you are out of Prague, the small quiet village of Zbraslav is actually considered part of the city; it is a mini day trip to say the least as you clearly feel miles from the bustling city. Founded in 1292 by Wenceslas II, The chateau was originally a Cistercian monastery only to be destroyed by the Hussites in 1420. The current complex, completed in 1732, by Giovanni Santini-Aichl and Frantisek Maxmilian Kanka, is worth a visit just to marvel at the gorgeous renovated chateau. The dark soothing corridors complete with stone giants welcome you while historic exhibition rooms and halls filled with lovingly placed and displayed items wait to be explored. On the ground floor you will find Japanese Art with ceramics, laquerware, weaponry and even a few colorful Hiroshiges. The first floor houses ancient Chinese Buddhist Art and surreal tomb sculptures. The second floor showcases Art from India, Southeast Asia, the Islamic world, and Tibet. The chateau also features an atmospheric Japanese tearoom with a delicious variety of teas and the Royal Hall, a classical concert venue. This is a must see for any lover of Asian Art, or architecture for that matter. This is something special. And it is very sad to note that this year the Asian collection will be moved to Kinsky Palace in Old Town Square as Zbraslav Chateau returns to private ownership.
Article tags: Asian Art
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