This week we have been putting the finishing touches on our exhibition at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, which will pay homage to 200 years of Extraordinary Endeavours at the Royal Asiatic Society. Months of planning, dedication, and hard work have gone into crafting an exhibition that will captivate your senses and spark your imagination which will open to the public on Thursday. For full details, see the Brunei gallery’s page here.
The exhibition includes rare books, manuscripts, paintings, photographs, and maps from the collections and reveals how Asian works of literature, art, and religion made a lasting impression on British culture. This ranges from popular games such as chess illustrated by a 16th-century Persian manuscript and the original game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ (RAS 051.001) painted by a Maharashtran artist, ca. 1800 CE to celebrated works of literature including the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and the Arabian Nights. The exhibition reflects the extraordinary diversity of the collections donated to the Society by its members and other institutions.
The Royal Asiatic Society’s 200th-anniversary celebration is not just a tribute to the past; it’s an ode to the enduring spirit of exploration, curiosity, and cross-cultural dialogue. We invite you to join us in this commemoration as we reflect on two centuries of discovery, learning, and collaboration. The grand opening is just around the corner, and we can’t wait to share this remarkable journey with you.