The 55,000 Asian pieces in the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac cover the entire geographical area of this continent, from Turkey to Japan. They essentially illustrate the popular and minority arts of the recent period, complementing the collections in the musée du Louvre and the musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet.
The earliest assemblages come from the royal cabinets of curiosities, and above all from the first scientific expeditions sent to Asia by the Minister of Public Instruction in the late 19th century. Throughout the 20th century, these collections were continually added to by ethnologists from the “musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro” and then the “musée de l'Homme”. The Colonial Exhibitions, particularly that of 1931, gathered numerous artisanal and everyday objects which today form a significant part of the Asian collections of the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac.