February 22, 2007
rank Miller had a strong affection for Asian art and culture. This life-long fascination may have started when Wilson Crewdson, the Curator of Japanese Art at the British Museum, visited Riverside and the Glenwood (Gale, 1938). The collections of the Mission Inn feature a wide variety of Asian materials, including bells, furniture, religious figures, puppets, statuary, theatrical props, ceramics, musical instruments, and dolls.
The 1931 Rotunda addition to the hotel reflects Miller's interest in Asia. Asian architectural elements sit side-by-side with Spanish, Moorish, and Mission-style architecture. The Court of the Orient, Ho O Kan room, and the top of the kitchen chimney hotel designed in the style of a pagoda all lend Asian flavor to Miller’s eclectic hotel. Foo Dogs used to guard the entire area. These carved wooden figures represented the ancient sacred dogs of Asia who protected Buddhist temples.
In 1929, Miller was honored by the Japanese emperor in a ceremony at the Mission Inn where he received the Fourth Degree of Merit of Meiji with the Small Order of the Rising Sun. Miller, who had a penchant for costumes, wore a kimono to the ceremony, while representatives of the emperor wore Western business suits (Klotz, 1982).