1980 - present
Several years after the closure of the Chinese and Siberian Collections Hall, plans for of a new Peoples of Asia Hall appeared in 1967; construction began in 1973 (1, 1967/68 p. 24; 1, 1974/75, p.4). Preview exhibitions for the new hall, in the form of Exhibits of the Month, were shown as early as 1971 (1, 1971/72 p. 9).
A number of special events at the Museum celebrated the opening of the new Hall of Asian Peoples, including film screenings and music and dance performances. The hall was featured in national advertising campaigns and heavily promoted along with the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites, which opened within a year of the Hall of Asian Peoples (AR 1980 p. 47-55). A companion book, Asia: Tradition and Treasures, written by Walter Fairservis with color photographs by Lee Boltin, was published in October 1981 (1, 1980/81, p. 50).
The hall explores the Asian continent’s history and cultural diversity, highlighting regions such as India, China, Japan, Korea, Siberia, and Armenia, and exploring topics that include trade, Asian pre-history, and the rise of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Confucianism. Sections of the hall are arranged geographically, and visitors may walk through the hall following either a northern or southern trade route. Detailed dioramas include depictions of a wedding in a rural Hindu village in central India; a faithful re-creation of a late 19th-century healing ceremony of the Sakha of Eastern Siberia; and an ornate wedding chair, which would have carried a traditional Chinese bride to her new life with her husband’s family (2).
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