In Rome, there’s a hidden threshold between Western and Eastern worlds: the National Museum of Oriental Art inside Palazzo Brancaccio. The suggestive journey to discover Oriental cultures winds through the luxurious spaces of a monumental palace, which represents one of the last celebrative architectures patronized by a wealthy family in 19th century Rome.
The Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale “Giuseppe Tucci” (MNAO) is housed in the lavish apartment spaces, which belonged until the 1930s to the noble Brancaccio family.
Around 1872, Mary E.B. Field and her husband, Hickson Field, coming from New York, acquired the area belonging to the now vanished chiesa Santa Maria della Purificazione annexed to the Poor Clares monastery on the Oppian Hill, and commissioned the palace building, then inherited by their grandchildren Marcantonio and Carlo Brancaccio.
Primarily organized according to the geographic origins and, moreover, following a chronological order, the rich museum collections invite us in a fascinating journey across both time and space, which begins by stepping in the Near and Middle East and it develops passing through the art and archaeological finds of Islamic areas, prints and painting of East Asia, Gandhara, Yemen, Tibet and Nepal, Korea, Japan and finally China, thus allowing to understand the legendary Orient, which has always inhabited the amazed reveries of the Western world.