Asia in Amsterdam Comes to the Peabody Essex Museum

Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde (1658-1698). The "Golden Bend" in the Herengracht, Amsterdam 1671-1672. Oil on panel. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) presents an exhibition that draws on its world-renowned Asian export art collection to explore a fascinating and pivotal intersection of art, commerce, and innovation. Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age features 200 superlative works of art—paintings, textiles, ceramics, silver, lacquerware, furniture, jewelry and books—that reveal the transformative impact of Asian luxuries on Dutch art and life in the 17th century. The exhibition features loans from more than 60 collections worldwide, including treasures from the British, Swedish, and Dutch royal households, as well as from museums and private collections in the Netherlands and throughout Europe and the United States.

Co-organized with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the exhibition offers new research and fresh perspectives on the Dutch Golden Age and will be on view at PEM, the exclusive U.S. venue, from February 27 through June 5, 2016. 

Founded less than a year apart – in 1798 and 1799 – the Rijksmuseum and PEM boast rich collections inextricably linked to early international trade. Salem, like Amsterdam, was a hub for ideas, commerce and culture, connecting its citizens to the wider world. America’s first global entrepreneurs established the East India Marine Society, the forerunner of PEM. These intrepid mariners and entrepreneurs sailed beyond the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn and considered the diverse objects of art and culture they brought back from “the farthest ports of the rich East” as expressions of a new global world.


Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age examines how the Dutch perceived and valued imported luxuries from Asia, the lengths to which they would go to acquire them, and how they incorporated them into their lives. Fashionable Dutch men soon began wearing silk Japanese robes, Dutch women introduced the ritual of Chinese tea drinking into their social calendars and wealthy Dutch households boasted Asian luxury goods in every room.

The exhibit opens Saturday February 27 through June 5, 2016. For more information visit,

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