The Peabody Essex Museum began in 1799, when the charter of the East India Marine Society called for the establishment of a "cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities,” and members of the Society began bringing home objects from Asia, Africa, Oceania, India, the northwest coast of America, and elsewhere. Today's collection includes 1.8 million works from cultures around the world: paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, textiles, architecture and decorative objects, dating from the 1700s to the present.
Considerable architectural interest is found in the National Historic Landmark East India Marine Hall (1825); the Moshe Safdie-designed glass and brick building expansion; and Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese (Qing Dynasty) sixteen-bedroom house, reconstructed on the Peabody Essex Museum site.
The drive toward modernity co-existing with the enduring presence of the spiritual
30 selected, coveted and luxurious works display mastery of material and form
Human, animal, ancestral and supernatural relationships explored in art over 200 years
30 highlights from the collection span 3,000 years, celebrating China's artistic achievements
150 objects show how imperial women influenced court politics, art, and religion
Explores bioinspired innovations in design, technology and art
125 photographs explore the influence of the South in the artist's work
A journey from the 1500s arrival of Portuguese merchants through the late 19th-century and beyond