Visit Japanese and Korean Art

The collection of Japanese and Korean art includes more than 7,000 works ranging from ancient to contemporary and is among the top five collections in the United States. The permanent display space for Japanese art is the largest in the Western world with 15 galleries and over 10,000 square feet (930 sqm). The collection itself includes Buddhist sculpture, woodblock prints, paintings, lacquer, works of bamboo, and ceramics, and it is particularly rich in works from the Edo period (1610–1868).

Two historic rooms, a formal audience hall (shoin) and a teahouse (chashitsu), allow highly visible installations within the permanent galleries and serve to heighten awareness of the relationship between art and architecture.

The Department of Japanese and Korean art has benefited greatly from generous gifts from knowledgeable collectors. Richard P. Gale, Louis W. Hill, Jr., Ruth and Bruce Dayton, and Ellen and Fred Wells have all donated specialized collections of international reputation. With the addition of over 1,500 works of art from the collections of Elizabeth and Willard “Bill” Clark and the Clark Center for Japanese Art in 2013 and half of the world-renowned Mary Griggs Burke collection, the Japanese and Korean art galleries are no doubt a destination for both art enthusiasts and scholars alike.

The department is dedicated to providing the public with a broad overview of Japanese and Korean art. By showcasing art both chronologically and by medium, the galleries show the history of not only the objects themselves, but also of a collected process of artistic creation. This can be seen, for example, by the scope of ceramics, ranging from early utilitarian to contemporary sculptures.

Of notable strength is the collection of ukiyo-e paintings and prints, popularly known as “pictures of the floating world”. The core of the collection was built by Richard P. Gale and Louis W. Hill, Jr., and the Gale bequest included some 57 paintings and 206 prints, many of which are rare and in admirable condition. A strong collection of Ōtsu-e, folk paintings produced in and around the town of Ōtsu during the Edo period, came from collectors Edson and Harriet Spencer who also donated their collection of tiger paintings.

Mia’s Affinity Groups are a great way for museum members to connect more closely with special areas of art interest, allowing you to delve deeper into the curatorial area of your choice.

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