May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Each month this year, we’ve been celebrating the diverse art, music and culture in the Los Angeles area based on the different heritage months. We are extremely passionate about art. It’s always fun to feature special exhibitions and events happening at our favorite museums like LACMA and The Huntington.

The Huntington’s Asian Art Collection

May is a great month to visit The Huntington. Not only are the gardens in full spring bloom, but they have an incredible collection of Asian art spanning a long history. They have works from ancient China and Japan, as well as all other East Asian and Pacific Island cultures. The Huntington has acquired objects with exotic appeal, beauty and artistry. Most of these works are on display full-time at the museum and library. Some only come out for limited exhibitions.

One of The Huntington’s most prized collections is a set of rare vases from the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). They also have a wonderful assortment of works relating to East Asian garden arts. These include sculptures, paintings, literature, music, theater and tea culture items. The highlight is a rare early edition of the Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Calligraphy and Painting. This is a multi-block, color manual that was originally published between 1633 and 1703.

Chinese Garden Tours

Of course, you will also want to spend some time visiting the Chinese Garden (aka “Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Glowing Fragrance”) any time you are at The Huntington. This is one of the most beautiful settings in Southern California featuring floral displays, ponds, sculptures and architectural elements representing Chinese culture. In 2020, they opened the Studio for Lodging for the Mind. It is located at the north end of the Chinese Garden. It is a large gallery space ideal for displaying rare Asian works of art, including fragile pieces like paper and silk.

If you can make it to the Chinese Garden on a Wednesday afternoon, you will be treated with live music from a different solo musician every week. It is truly inspiring to be surrounded by the natural beauty of the gardens while hearing traditional Chinese music!

The Creation of Liu Fang Yuan

Crafting a Garden: Inside the Creation of Liu Fang Yuan is an exhibition that opened last October and is running through May 29, 2023. This is your last chance to experience the stories behind the design and construction of The Huntington’s Chinese Garden. The display includes models, photographs, tools and videos important to the process. The exhibition is centered around five fundamental crafts: architecture, paving, mountain making, planting and writing. Learn more.

There are many other ways you can celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May in Los Angeles. The Huntington is a good place to start!