The Asian Art Museum Kuala Lumpur or Muzium Seni Asia was officially opened in 1980 and is housed inside a three-storey building situated between the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Economics and Administration,within the compounds of the University of Malaya, a highly prestigious Malaysian university. The museum contains 2,000 over ceramics pieces from Malaysia, Thailand, Khmer, Vietnam, China, Japan, India and Iran.
This is one of the interesting Kuala Lumpur museums. The Asian Art Museum Kuala Lumpur offers you authentic ceramic collection which is truly a wonder to see. If you are interested in pottery, you can learn the general history of ceramics and pottery in Southeast Asia.
You can find three amazing Swankhalok pottery manhunt elephant figurines which were created at the current Si Satchanalai, a major Thai kiln centre originated from the 14th and 15th centuries. There are only five such pottery manhunt elephants known to have been made, and three of them are right here in this museum! Other ceramic displays that you can find in the Asian Art Museum are so ancient with date from as early as the 11th century.
The Asian Art Museum Kuala Lumpur is already well-known as having the largest collection of kendi water vessels in the world. One entire wall inside the museum is devoted to a kendi ceramic collection. The word kendi evolved from the word kundi, which initially evolved from the word kundika, meaning ‘water vessels’ in Indian lingo.
Kendi are traditional water containers used to store drinking water. They are usually built with a bulbous body and two spout openings, and are known to have no handles. The unglazed-fired clay was popular for use of creating kendi because it was portable and able to keep its contents at neutral temperatures.
Kendi look like exquisite brass kettles that have been elaborately scribed with fearsome animals like dragons, crocodiles and dogs. Carefully chiseled with additional floral patterns and geometrical strokes, the kendi was used at weddings or similar major events. It was even used ceremonially by villagers to ward off evil spirits, and to be presented as bridal gifts.
The collection at the Asian Art Museum Kuala Lumpur comprises of both local and Asian Art objects. Many other collections of cultural heritage and interest include Islamic & Malay Arts, Textiles, Stone Carvings, Islamic paintings, Copper items, Weapons and traditional kites. It also holds 2,000 exclusive publications on Asian art that are only open to legal researchers and University of Malaya library members.
You can visit the Asian Art Museum Kuala Lumpur at the following hours:
8.45am – 4.45pm (Monday – Friday)
8.45am – 12.30pm (Saturday)
Closed: Public Holidays
The museum is also closed from 12pm to 2pm for Friday prayers.
Admission is free.