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... of The San Diego Museum of Art

Asian Insights, Paper mache Buddha from AAC Newsletter, April 2021
Dream of The Red Chamber, 1923, Ivory painting, China

by Heather Simmerman, Ph.D., Docent, first printed for members in the AAC Newsletter, June, 2021

Preview: Carved from ivory in the form of an open book, this double wrist rest is quite small at 4 1/8 in x 3 7/8 in x 1 3/4 in. On the convex face, the left side is incised with text whereas the right side is inscribed with a scene of four women seated at a table in an outdoor pavilion framed on two ... (click to continue), or click on the picture, to read the article on the Asian Insights menu tab.

The Museum’s Asian Art Collection

Of the holdings of the Museum’s permanent collection, almost 50% consists of Asian objects spanning many cultures, historical periods and media. The ongoing gallery rotations from the permanent collection, coupled with periodic special exhibitions, offer a rich, stimulating and diverse visual experience for members, visitors and guests.

Art of East Asia: The Galleries

Proudly opened in February, 2012. The Art of East Asia features works from Japan, China and Korea arranged in five distinctive gallery settings.

banner - South Asian, Southeast Asian and Persian Art
South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Persian Art

Paintings from the esteemed Edwin Binney 3rd Collection were featured in a new gallery that opened in January, 2017, in the back of the Museum's West Wing. While the small gallery is called the Binney Gallery, South Asian art art is resting for a few years. The South Asian Arts Council (SAAC) is very active. The SAAC website can be reached by clicking here.

Art of East Asia found in docent tours.
Click here for schedule.

AAC General Meetings
& Lectures

Meetings feature distinguished speakers with expertise on a wide range of topics related to Asian art. We meet on the last Thursday of the month at 1:00 p.m. on Zoom, with the exception of November and December when there are no meetings. Non-members may register for meetings for FREE by clicking here, scrolling down and selecting this month's lecture. It's a real deal, and donations are welcome! (In-person meetings were free for AAC members and only $10 for Museum members and $12 for non-Museum members. Students attended for $8).


AAC Members receive a subscription to the monthly Asian Arts Council newsletter. To receive a free copy, email for information.


Dues for FY25 are due now! Visit our Membership Page to join or renew now for the great benefits we offer. New AAC members are always welcome! $50 for an individual membership, $75 for a dual membership is a great deal for Dual members of the Museum ($125). Dual Museum members may join Support Councils.

We are grateful for those who continue to support The San Diego Museum of Art's Asian Art Council.

Giving Back

A chance to give to support the Asian Galleries! See the Membership and Giving Back pages for more information.

The Asian Arts Council has played a significant role in the history of the Museum by providing funding in support of research, education and conservation. We support curatorial efforts by bringing scholars to the Museum who share their expertise with museum staff and with us at our monthly meetings. In addition to research and  education, ensuring the safety and the future of objects in the collection through conservation and restoration is a special focus of our annual membership renewal appeal and our conservation fund. 



As one of the oldest support councils of The San Diego Museum of Art the Asian Arts Council (AAC) has played a significant role in the history of the Museum. It exists to foster interest in the Museum’s Asian art collection and to support curatorial efforts. Our monthly meetings feature programs by visiting scholars chosen to expand our knowledge of our rich and varied Asian collection, an exhibition, artist, medium or historical period. We have an active study group promoting in depth study on a variety of topics. Organized trips include bus trips to other Southern California museums and travel to other cities to enjoy exhibitions of Asian interest. The Asian Arts Council affords members a rich experience of Asian art and a deeper appreciation of the objects in our permanent collection. Please join us!

Email the Asian Arts Council

AAC Board

Chair: Chad Patton
Vice-Chair: Heather Simmerman
Secretary: Joanne Meredith &
Mary Dilligan
Treasurer: Mary Witztum 
Past-Chair: Tom Dillon, nominations

The Board meets on the third Monday of each month via Zoom. There is no meeting in December. If you would like to visit the Board meeting, and you are a member, while there are Zoom meetings, please visit and get involved. Click here to send an email to request a Zoom invitation to a board meeting. The all-volunteer Board serves a two year term with Committee Chairs serving, hopefully, forever.  Meetings are open to members, so if you want to attend a Board meeting, email to get a Zoom link. For a list of current officers and committee chairs (and Bylaws), click here. For more information, please contact us. To see a calendar, click the link.

Study Group

“Islamic Art and Innovation" is the theme for FY25. (Other Asian art topic ideas welcome). The Study Group's research will work well with the upcoming exhibition starting September 7th, Wonders of Creation: Art, Science and Innovation in the Islamic World. The Musuem Members' Preview is September 6th! AAC members and Museum docents have an opportunity for in depth research on a theme chosen each year by the group. The Study Group meets on the third Monday of the month on Zoom at 10:00 a.m. to hear presentations by its members and Docents. There are no Study Group meetings in December, January or August).