Inspired by Brooke Russell Astor, who spent part of her childhood in China, The Astor Court and its adjoining reception room featuring Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) hardwood furniture opened to the public in 1981, a gift of the Vincent Astor Foundation.
Modeled on a seventeenth-century courtyard in the Garden of the Master of the Fishing Nets in Suzhou (in east China's Jiangsu Province), the court was entirely constructed using traditional tools and techniques. An eighteenth-century imperial kiln was reopened to fire the ceramic tiles; rare nan wood was hand-planed into columns; specimen Taihu rocks were used for the rockeries, and a granite terrace was hand chiseled from a Suzhou quarry.
A team of twenty-six Chinese craftsmen (along with a chef) spent six months in New York assembling the components.
(Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)