Hopp Ferenc Ázsiai Művészeti Múzeum

Archive exhibitions

Devi Cults and Traditional Female Roles in India
11 May 2018 – 6 January 2019
Curator: Róbert Válóczi

On the Indian subcontinent, the different regional cults of the Goddess, or Devi, as she is known in India, are rooted deep in the past. From the age of the Indus Valley Civilisation until the arrival of the globalised world of the twenty-first century, the people of India have long worshipped Devi, and continue to do so. The Goddess – like Hinduism itself – has many faces, and every different face and embodiment of Devi is accompanied by a wealth of different traditions. She is the youthful Beauty, who enchants mortals and gods alike. She is the faithful Wife, seated tenderly in her husband’s lap. She is the Mother, the birth-giver and creator of all humankind. But she is also the belligerent Warrior Goddess, who destroys evil and saves the world from catastrophe.
There are, of course, many other types of beauties, wives, mothers and warriors in India. These are the earthly women: daughters, lovers and mothers. Even though they too are enchanting, caring, blessed with the creative force and fierce as a warrior, they have no temples dedicated to them, nor are sacrifices offered to them. Yet without woman, there would be no life in India, no society, religion or art. Is it not true that the Goddess is a woman? Is it not true that a woman plays the same roles as a goddess? If so, then why are women and goddesses viewed so differently in people’s eyes?

The primary aim of the latest exhibition at the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts is to present the different faces of Hindu Goddesses through the traditional female roles they fulfil. Where the Goddess appears as a beauty, a wife, a mother and a warrior, the exhibition seeks to answer the question of how these idealised female roles are manifested in earthly society. The objects on show range from classical Indian sculptures to contemporary graphic novels, underlining the continuity of subject and form between ancient and modern Hindu art.
The majority of the exhibits are part of the Indian collection at the Hopp Museum, and they are joined by works reflecting the unique visual world of the living artist Abhishek Singh, which are centred on the identity of Devi. This is the first exhibition at the Hopp Museum for several decades to concentrate on Hindu art, and it encompasses the religious cults of the earliest days of Indian history, as well as the social roles and image of women today.

Besides the exhibits themselves, many of which are now visible to the public for the first time ever, QR codes and Augmented Reality help visitors to deepen their knowledge and understanding of a range of topics.
Younger visitors have their own personal “guide” to show them around – Radhika will present interesting highlights from the exhibition, and give information about India and the world of Hindu gods and goddesses. Placed around the exhibition space are “cultural discovery” boxes and packages, providing visitors of all ages with a true “hands-on” experience.

Further points of interest:

Accompanying the exhibition, and coinciding with events on the Hindu calendar, family days, film clubs, open-air cinema shows and exclusive guided tours will immerse visitors even deeper in Indian art and culture. This year, on the Night of Museums, all our programmes are connected to Indian culture. Among them we have already planned dance performances and puppet shows, and – to our immense delight – we will be visited in person by the Indian artist Abhishek Singh, who has played such an important role in defining the visual image of the exhibition.

As is customary at the Hopp Museum, the exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated volume of essays, available both in Hungarian and in English, as well as its own museum education publication in Hungarian, which tells some of the fantastic stories about Hindu gods and goddesses through images recalling the world of the graphic novel. Our new blog, at hoppmuseumblog.com, provides interesting information about India that goes beyond the exhibition concept. As part of the museum education programme, special lessons and creative workshops will be held, available in Hungarian or Russian.

Visnu és Laksmí Nyugat India, 18–19. század Akvarell, papír 13,2 x 12,4 cm
Vishnu and Lakshmi. West India, 18–19th century

Déví vagy apsarasz torzó Észak-India, Csandéla-kor, 10–11. század Homokkő 21x22,7x14,8 cm
Torso of devi or apsaras. North India, Chandela period, 10–11th century

Female figure, Jaina architectural ornament. Gujarat, India, 17–18th century
Female figure, Jaina architectural ornament. Gujarat, India, 17–18th century
Laksmí Nyugat-India, 18–19. század Festett fehér márvány 80,5 x 23 x 17 cm
Lakshmi. West India, 18–19th century

A Bivalydémont megölő Durgá Nyugat-India, 19. század Festett fekete márvány 85×47×25 cm
Durga slaying the Buffalo Damon. West India, 19th century
Kálí Madhubani festmény Mithilá, 20. század vége Vízfesték, papír 76 x 56 cm
Kali. Madhubani painting,
Mithilá, end of the 20. century

Durgá Templomi szekér (ratha) díszítése, részlet Dél-India, 18–19. század Tíkfa, ébenberakással 30x15x15 cm
Durga, Ornamental fragment of a temple chariot (ratha).South India, 18–19th century
Abhisék Szingh Bhadrakálí (A békés Kálí) 2014 Akrilfesték, gouache, tinta, vászon (Digitális reprodukció) 180×120 cm
Abhishek Singh (1982): Bhadakali (Kali in Peaceful Form). 2014





Sanghay – Shanghai. Parallel Diversities between East and West
22 September 2017 – 8 April 2018
Curators: Dr Györgyi Fajcsák and Dr Béla Kelényi

Opening 21 September 2017, the new exhibition at the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts, titled Sanghay – Shanghai. Parallel Diversities between East and West, links the emblematic oriental metropolis of Shanghai with the Sanghay Bar in Budapest, a perfect encapsulation of the contradictory image of the East that prevailed in Hungary between the wars. The aim of the exhibition is twofold: firstly to allow a glimpse inside the world of Hungarians who lived and worked in Shanghai in that period, as seen through their own personal items (many of which now form part of the collection of the Hopp Museum); and secondly to present the findings of recent research into previously unexplored areas of Hungarian art that came under the influence of the East.



Nagas, Birds and Elephant
Traditional Dress from Mainland Southeast Asia
30 September 2016 – 20 Agust 2017

The new temporary exhibition at the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts, Budapest, the Nagas, Birds and Elephants, presents Southeast Asian textiles from a variety of viewpoints – geographical, chronological and anthropological. Through explanations of the ritual functions of textiles and the symbology in their patterns, and examples of the different types of textiles and traditional costumes worn in the region, the exhibition aims to inform visitors about the religious beliefs, customs and celebrations of the diverse peoples of mainland Southeast Asia.



IMAGING KOREA - Beyond the people land and time

Budapest Welcomes Korean Photographers’ Touring Exhibition
Date: 6th May – 28th August 2016
Venue: Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts

„Photography captures the present but it will soon be the past.
[…] Photos contribute to things changed, to a vanishing world.” KANG Woongu

The first Eastern European country to establish diplomatic relations with Korea, Hungary shares so much with Korean that it’s called ‘The East Asia of Europe’. The most impressive thing is that, as in Korea, they hang and dry chili peppers and garlic, essential ingredients in Korean cooking. Although the chili pepper is called paprika in Hungary, the sight of if surely reminds me of an autumn day typical of Korea. Hungary located in the east of Europe and Korea located in the east of Asia. It’s not a mere coincidence but a fortuitous meeting that these two countries, which light up the east end of their respective continents, are now taking the first steps together in the exhibit entitled which will tour six countries starting from the ‘Pearl of Danube’ Budapest, Hungary and continuing to Germany, Poland, Belgium, Kazakhstan, and Spain.
There is a saying that goes ‘Meeting one good person in a good place is like catching a star in the sky’. The meeting between KIM Jaehwan, Director of Korean Cultural Center in Budapest, Hungary and KWON Taegyun, a self-proclaimed nomad and photographer of very Korean sensibility was just such a meeting. They had the idea to present Korea to Europe using the attractive medium of documentary photography. In 2014, KWON Taegyun suggested earnestly that I bring to concept such an exhibition. However, at 60 years of age he passed from acute heart failure and the plans lay in a drawer quietly. Nevertheless, the idea wasn’t meant to be forgotten that easily. Director KIM Jaewhan, meeting with Korea’s eminent photographer KANG Woongu, again brought up the idea of a documentary photography exhibit and plans were drawn up by mid-2015. The exhibit plan was revitalized with the ambition to share with the people of Europe the works of KWON Taegyun, high-quality Korean photography, and images imbued with Korean sensibility. It all started with the seven representative Korean photographers KANG Woongu, KWON Taegyun, KIM Jungman, PARK Jongwoo, LEE Gapchul, CHO Daeyeon, and SEO Heunkang telling the story of Korea in .







“In Search of Prince Genji - Japan in Words and Images”
26 November 2015 – 17 April 2016

In Search of Prince Genji - Japan in Words and Images is the next show in a series of exhibitions presenting traditional Asian art from the collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts alongside Hungarian contemporary artworks. Its focal point is the aesthetic ideal of traditional Japanese art and its reception in Europe.

Referred to as the world’s first novel, Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji) is considered as one of the most important literary works of the world. Written in the early eleventh century by Murasaki, a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese royal court in the Heian period, the book recounts the adventures of a fictional character, the shining Prince Genji, in 54 chapters. The attribute ‘shining’ or ‘radiant’ (in Japanese: “Hikaru”) is an allusion to the refined intellect, taste and demeanour of prince Genji as well as to his other-worldly beauty. Despite being a fictional piece, it records in detail the customs of the Japanese royal court as well as the culture and etiquette of the Heian period. Although Genji monogatari was written for the entertainment of the court circle of Lady Murasaki, the author’s sophisticated ability of observation and meticulous description made the novel one of the main chronicles of medieval Japan. Thanks to the repeated modernisation of the Japanese text, the tale of the shining prince remained alive in contemporary Japanese culture, in a way that can only be matched to the Bible or ancient Greek myths in Europe.

The perfect beauty of Prince Genji and that of his world represents traditional Japanese aesthetic ideals. Ever since the novel’s appearance, its various scenes have been widely depicted in paintings, woodcuts, lacquer works, ceramics,, and other art forms (photography, theatre) have also used it as a precious source. The collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts preserves many artefacts, ranging from the late seventeenth century until today, that retell the story of Genji in either a narrative or symbolical way. Creating a balance between image and text, the current exhibition aims to show the novel’s uninterrupted presence in Japanese culture, while also displaying Hungarian artworks in order to illustrate its inspirational role in world literature and fine arts.

Our exhibition wishes to present The Tale of Genji on several levels. It provides information about Lady Murasaki, the novel’s author, as well as about the structure of the text, the main events and the characters of the story. The importance of Genji pictures in Japanese visual arts are illustrated by narrative (yamato-e), symbolic, and parodistic (mitate) depictions. Games linked to the Genji monogatari (and how they were payed) in early modern Japan are shown through various artefacts. By walking through the halls visitors will learn about the artist of the highly valuable Genji album in the museum’s collection, about the structure of Japanese poems, or waka, and an entire set of Genji karuta (a 108 piece card deck) from the early nineteenth-century can also be seen.

The closing section of the exhibition is a double homage: the atmosphere of the old imperial capital, Kyoto, will be conjured up in words by László Krasznahorkai and in photographic images by Zoltán Gaál. Image and text are linked as closely in the presentation of the Hungarian works as they were in the earliest Genji manuscripts.

The exhibition is accompanied by a Hungarian and English catalogue including essays by several authors and rich in reproductions. Besides the studies on literary, photographic and art history, the volume contains a summary of the monumental novel (some 1,500 pages) about prince Genji. Each chapter of the story is illustrated by the corresponding picture of the Genji album of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts, thus publishing the work in its completeness.

You can download Incense Album, A Visitor’s Guide to the Exhibition here.











The Indologist Indian – In Memory of Ervin Baktay
11 March 2015 – 1 November 2015
A “Playful Man”: Ervin Baktay the painter, writer, indologist, geographer, astrologist, museologist, art historian, and Indian

Ervin Baktay (1890–1963), was one of the most outstanding Hungarian scholars specializing in the culture of India and promoting it by his countless books, studies, and exhibitions. He started his career as a painter and became famous for his translations, articles, and guidebooks. As he was the uncle of the world-famous painter Amrita Sher-Gil, he also had close familial ties to India. He worked extensively in the field of geography, astrology, and history of art. Moreover, Hungary owes the cult of Alexander Csoma de Kőrös to him. His talents were not only revealed in his writings. Due to his childhood experiences, he and his friends founded the Wild West Games in 1924 as well as the Indian Games in 1931, which was recognised by the Indian Association of America.

The exhibition illustrating Baktay’s colourful personality also presents the so far unknown chapters of the history of his family, which is an example of the transition of the class of landowners to bourgeoisie in the age of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. It includes paintings of Baktay and his artist friends, giving an insight into the yet unexplored last years of the painting school of Simon Hollósy in Munich. The libertine spirit of the Greco-Roman “Symposion” series, held in the studio of the puppet artist Géza Blattner, is also evoked. The leading figure of these events of the early 1920s was the young Baktay (Eroinos Baktaios).
Baktay’s surroundings (his library and study room) and works demonstrate his achievements as a literary man, translator, and writer of travel books, including his revolutionary first trip to India, his role played in the Hungarian Geographical Society, and his astrological work. These aspects of his career are completed in the exhibition by pictures from Baktay’s filmstrip India, and by his radio talk on his journey in West Tibet, both from 1956.

Beside the objects he collected in West Tibet, the show features related artworks as well. As a museologist, Baktay was the first to describe the Indian and Nepalese collection of the Hopp Museum. With the inclusion of the finest pieces of these collections, the highly successful and comprehensive exhibition of Indian culture organised by Baktay in 1951 is partially reconstructed.

An exciting section presents the life of the Indian tribe at the Danube and of the wild-west town in studio setting, both of which were founded and led by Baktay as Chief Lazy Buffalo and Sheriff E. H. Bucktye. Their adventures are recorded by two, so far almost unknown silent films, The Paleface Sorcerer and In the Camp of Lazy Buffalo, directed by Baktay in 1935.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of lectures, scientific and artistic events, and various programs of museum education. A Hungarian volume including thirty nine studies, an appendix of three articles, and a concise bibliography is published on Ervin Baktay’s life’s work, as well as a short publication in English. The manuscript of Baktay’s translation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn also appears on this occasion, along with his autobiography titled Homo Ludens.




Heart of Beauty
Selected Chinese Masterpieces of 5000 Years
11 October 2014 -  08 February 2015
The exhibition Heart of Beauty presented a fine selection of the Chinese collection of almost 8000 pieces of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and China. In the focus of the exhibition, there were five exceptionally notable Chinese art materials: jade, porcelain, lacquer, paper, and silk. Their invention and use have been the attribute of Chinese arts for centuries, even for millennia. The selected jade, porcelain, and lacquer objects along with the paintings of the Chinese collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts not only offered an insight into their religious or lay symbols, use, and manufacturing but also into the theoretical background of their creation with the help of philosophical and literary works exhibited.




































Feltételezhetően Szumijosi Gukei vagy köre: A budapesti Gendzsi-album 9. lapja. Papír, arany, tus, festék 1670 körül

Feltételezhetően Szumijosi Gukei vagy köre: A budapesti Gendzsi-album 9. lapja. Papír, arany, tus, festék 1670 körül

A Ranrjó-ó nevű bugaku figura. Textil, gobelintechnika (cuzure-nisiki) 1900 körül
A Ranrjó-ó nevű bugaku figura. Textil, gobelintechnika (cuzure-nisiki) 1900 körül

Gaál Zoltán: Cím nélkül. Lyukkamerával készült analóg fénykép 2013, Kiotó
Gaál Zoltán: Cím nélkül. Lyukkamerával készült analóg fénykép 2013, Kiotó

Háromrekeszes inró kai-avasze kagylómotívummal. Fa, lakk (urusi, maki-e), textil, rozmáragyar, agancs 18. század vége – 19. század eleje
Háromrekeszes inró kai-avasze kagylómotívummal. Fa, lakk (urusi, maki-e), textil, rozmáragyar, agancs 18. század vége – 19. század eleje