Reputation and Oblivion: The History of Václav Stejskal’s Eastern Asia Collection

Pages 23–36
Keywords China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal War Navy, Naprstek Museum, National Museum, late 19th century collectors, late 19th century travellers
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Citation HEROLDOVÁ, Helena. Reputation and Oblivion: The History of Václav Stejskal’s Eastern Asia Collection. Annals of the Náprstek Museum. Prague: National Museum, 2010, 31(1), 23–36. ISSN 0231-844X (print), 2533-5685 (online). Also available from:
Annals of the Náprstek Museum | 2010/31/1

Václav Stejskal (1851–1934), a traveller and collector, is an important donor to the Náprstek Museum. His collection from the Far East and the Southeast Asia contains almost seven hundred items. Václav Stejskal joined the Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal War Navy, and travelled to Asia in 1886–1888. After his return he belonged to a circle around Vojta Náprstek (1826–1894), the founder of the Náprstek Museum. During the 1920s he became a public figure, displaying his collectibles in his villa and inviting there numerous visitors including the president of the republic. The choice of furniture pieces, porcelain vases, Japanese swords, Chinese and Japanese textiles and scroll paintings represented Václav Stejskal as a middle-class member who had achieved wealth, public esteem, and a sophistication spiced with a flare of adventure. Before his death he presented his collection to the newly established National Museum. However, the collection remained poorly documented in museum depositories, and with political changes after the World War II, his name as a collector and traveller was almost forgotten to the wider public.

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