Asia and Pacific Collections
The Asia and Pacific collections represent the close relationship of California to the Pacific Rim, through exploration, trade, immigration, and tourism.
The Pacific collection of ethnographic artifacts is one of the oldest in the Museum. It is based on approximately 220 private collections, the most notable being the John Rabe Collection. In the late 1880s and early 1890s, Oakland dentist John Rabe traveled throughout the Pacific, gathering materials from Australia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The Pacific collections include fans, fly whisks, chiefly regalia, canoes, paddles, clubs, masks, and tools, and textiles such as batiks, tapa cloth, and rare Maori cloaks. The Asian collections are not as extensive, but contain spectacular pieces, such as a purple silk and gold military uniform of a Manchu imperial prince and the red lacquer armor of a Tokugawa samurai. Holdings also include clothing and domestic and business artifacts from twentieth-century immigrant families, such as the Domoto, Lum, Uchida, and Chinn families.