Asia's story


The Asia tableau was among those impressive wagons built for Barnum & Bailey's 1903 homecoming.  Of the four continent-themed tableaus in that group, it is also one of only two that survive today, albeit in a very different form.  In addition to the allegorical statues on top of the wagons, each one featured a row of portraits on either side depicting the traditional dress from various countries on that continent.


Between 1915 and 1917, the Asia tableau was rebuilt.  The telescoping figures were removed and it was extended upwards so that it could carry equipment.  It changed hands several times with this configuration, until eventually it was put out of commission and stored in Rochester, Indiana in 1938. 


The wagon sat unused for eight years, during which time most of its carvings were pilfered.  Many wagons ended their lives this way, but in 1946, the Block & Kuhl department store bought the wagon and restored it for use in its holiday parades. 


In 1961, the wagon was presented to Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, where it was restored to its 1935 appearance on the Cole Brothers Circus.  This is how the Asia tableau appears today.

Asia and America
Asia's story