Virtually explore the British Museum with Smarthistory as your guide
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Intentionally buried as part of an elaborate ritual, this ornate object tells us so much, but also too little.
The Arch of Honor praises Maximilian I as the ideal emperor, a paragon of modern rulership, guided by traditional chivalric values but also aggressively modern in both diplomacy and warfare.
This luxury pen-case is made from papier mâché with lacquer painting, a tradition inspired by Chinese lacquer.
This embroidery, discovered at Dunhuang, dates from China’s Tang dynasty (618–907) and depicts the Buddha preaching at Vulture Peak – in Buddhist tradition a favorite retreat of the Buddha and his disciples.
A fragmentary silk painting tells us about Buddhist art along the Silk Roads, numerous Buddhist sacred icons, and the complex life of an object after its creation.
Positioned at the crossroads of Asia, Gandhara has always been an ancient transit zone—as we see in this sculpture of the Buddha
The huge size of the canvas, the dynamic and decorative lines, and the combination of mineral colors are typical of Buddhist paintings from Korea.
This handscroll is an extremely valuable example of Korean calligraphy
Earlier Korean portraits were more interested in capturing a sense of the sitter's 'spirit' rather than in portraying an actual physical likeness such as this one from the 18th century
This wooden coffin in the form of eagle with painted gold feather markings was made in the village of Teshie in Ghana.
In medieval Korea, wine bottles were known as maebyong, which comes from the Chinese mei-ping ('vase for plum blossoms'), a misnomer dubbed by Chinese scholars of the Qing dynasty.
Kabuki theatre's leading actors influenced fashion and taste and quickly became the subject of popular woodblock prints in Japan