The museum of Eastern Art (or Asian Art), is housed in the Palace of St. Michael and St. George. The construction of the palace was ordered by the British ruler and lasted from 1818 until 1823. Made from sandstones which were imported from Malta, the design has 20 Doric columns on the frontage, two gates and bas-reliefs of the seven islands of the Ionian sea.
The building was designed by the British architect George Whitmore. It was initially used as the residence of the Lord High Commisioner and as the headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. After the unity of the Ionian Islands with Greece, it was given to the Greek state and for a while served as the summer residence for the Greek royal family (1864-1913). Full renovation took place to the palace before the EU' congress in Corfu in 1995.
The largest section of the museum consists of donations of valuable private collections. The most significant collection was donated by Grigoris Manos, who was ambassador of Greece for many years in the Far East and donated 10500 items. Until 1974 the museum had only Chinese and Japanese exhibitions but later was enriched with other private collections from central Asia. The development of art in India is presented with a collection of word carvings with themes of love and religion. There are also works of sculpture from Cambodia and painted Korean floor screens in display. You will now find important asian art exhibitions from Pakistan and Afganistan (1st-5th century AD), Siam and Cambodia (6th-15th century AD) as well as some local artifacts of significant value describing lurid religius icons (15th century) and local landscapes (19th century). The oldest artifact is 1000 years BC.
Corfu Asian Art museum is unique to Greece and one of Europe’s best as it has one of the largest and sleeker collections worldwide. You can visit it in Corfu's main square in the heart of the old town. You can easilly recognise it from the only Corfu arc which is visible from anywhere in the square.
Parking area next to the museum for 3 Euros and entrace for another 3 Euros (or multi ticket of 8 Euros which includes the Old Fortress, the Byzantine Museum (Antivouniotissa) and the Archeological museum - all within walking distance).
The Asian Art is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday from 08:30am to 15:30hrs.