György Ráth Museum – Budapest, Hungary - Atlas Obscura

György Ráth Museum

A Hungarian optometrist's charming collection of Asian art and curiosities. 


Ferenc Hopp was the first optician in Hungary to manufacture educational, optical devices and aids. The success of his company made him a wealthy man, enough so that he traveled the world five times over. Between 1882 and 1914, voyaging via steamers and the new transcontinental railways, Hopp collected over 4,500 objects. His collection started simply, with an ostrich egg, and evolved into the impressive collection of Asian art housed in the György Ráth Museum.

Worth seeking out are the 18th and 19th century Japanese Netsuke. Small toggles which were used to attach pouches to traditional–and pocketless–kimonos, they are carved into a delightful array of shapes, from a man inspecting an egg-top to mythological creatures to sexual poses.

Update: As of May, 2017 this is closed for technical reasons. It looks like it’s been closed for a while, and may be for a while yet.

Update February 2018: Small parts of the Ferenc Hopp collection can be seen in frequently changing temporary exhibitions at the Hopp Ferenc Museum of Asiatic Arts. This museum is right behind the closed György Ráth Museum. (Andrássy street 103.)

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January 4, 2009

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