Oriental Art

One of the most rundown and neglected collections of the Hermitage, the Oriental Art Department is slowly undergoing a much-needed revival and reorganization. Located on the third floor of the museum, beyond the bustling halls of Modern European Art, this section of the museum is almost empty even in peak season. This is shame, because the collection, though inconsistent in quality, contains some fascinating exhibits.

Japanese art at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia
Japanese art at the Hermitage Museum

Particularly noteworthy are the archaeological finds brought back from digs along the Silk Road in Central Asia, particularly the collection of artifacts from Khorezm and Pendjikent, cities in modern-day Uzbekistan that thrived from the 1st to the 8st centuries AD. These include fine stone and wooden sculptures, and remarkably well preserved wall paintings. Also fascinating is the collection of silverware and engraved stones from Sassanian Iran, the Zoroastrian state.

Even in the less well represented collections, there are still hidden treasures that deserve to be sought out, and few visitors will leave this section disappointed.