Historic Photography

On their purchasing expeditions, the museum founders followed the European steamer routes, which led via Istanbul, Alexandria, Port Said, Aden, Bombay (Mumbai), Colombo, Madras (Chennai) and Calcutta (Kolkata) to Singapore, Hong Kong and Yokohama. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, European and native photographers established commercial photographic studios in the major ports in order to meet the demand for travel photos by tourists and globetrotters. The Fischers, too, acquired an extensive collection.


In addition, the museum possesses a series of photo albums bequeathed by members of the German military stationed in Qingdao (Tsingtao), who liked to spend their leave in Japan. The albums, mass-produced in Japan with decorative lacquer bindings, were extremely popular. The albumen prints acquired in the studios were stuck in, so that individual travel picture-books could be compiled in this way. While the photographs from China often convey a colonialist message, the enchanting pastel shades of the hand-coloured photographs from the Japanese studios, known as Yokohama shashin, have a definite aesthetic appeal. Both this aesthetic, and the motifs, reveal the influence of the Japanese coloured woodblock print.


Opening times

Tuesday to Sunday
11am – 5pm
Every first Thursday in the month
11am – 10pm 
Closed Mondays

Museum is closed on Carnival from February 20th until February 25th. Museum is also closed December 24th, Christmas Day (25 Dec), New Year's Eve (31 Dec) and New Year's Day (1 Jan). Museum is opend on Easter Monday and Whit Monday.

Admission prices

Permament Collection and "Drunk on Sobriety. Wine and Tea in Chinese Art": € 7,00 / € 4

KölnTag on the first Thursday of the month (except public holidays): free admission to the Permanent Collection and "Drunk on Sobriety" for all Cologne residents.

How to get here

Public transport: Tram routes 1 and 7 and bus route 142, alight at ‘Universitätsstrasse’
There is a car park at the museum


The museum is barrier-free. Disabled toilet available.


Kurs: Sho - Wochenendkurs
Sa, 25.04.2020, 14:30 Uhr

Führung: Wein und Tee in China
So, 26.04.2020, 12:00 Uhr

Kurs: Kunst zum Klingen bringen
Do, 30.04.2020, 14:30 Uhr

Kurs: Tag der Kinder in Japan
Sa, 02.05.2020, 14:00 Uhr

Führung: Wein und Tee in China
So, 03.05.2020, 12:00 Uhr


Museum für
Ostasiatische Kunst Köln
Universitätsstrasse 100
D 50674 Köln
Ticket office +49.221.221-28617
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