The BMA’s collection of Asian art includes more than 1,000 objects comprised of works from China, Japan, India, Tibet, Southeast Asia, and the Near East.
The strength of the collection resides in Chinese ceramics, with a particular depth in mortuary wares from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and utilitarian stonewares from the 11th through the 13th centuries.
Highlights from China
- a 15th-century life-sized bronze Water-Moon Guanyin
- a 2nd-3rd century Tripod Vessel with two acrobats performing handstands balanced on the rim
- an early 8th-century Figure of a Striding Camel
- a 13th-century vibrant green Covered Wine Jar
- an 18th-century Serving Plate composed of 12 dishes that fit together in the form of a flower, made for the 60th birthday of China’s Kangxi Emperor. Check out the extraordinary history of this rare object on BMA Stories!
Asian art is also represented in other areas of the BMA’s collection, including 475 Japanese prints and 1,000 textiles from across Asia.
The presentation of the Asian art collection conveys 2,000 years of innovation by Chinese artists from 2nd century BCE to today. The current installation, Across East Asia: China’s Cultural & Artistic Legacy features objects made in China, Korea, and Japan from the 1st century to the present. Though all three countries developed independent clay-making practices, China’s expertise with high-fired stoneware and porcelain led to its regional, and later global, dominance. Ceramics circulated across East Asia through various means, including military occupation, the exchange of formal gifts, the spread of cultural practices like tea drinking, and the physical relocation of potters. The works included in this exhibition are organized into four themes: reflections, differences, parallels, and intersections.
Across East Asia: China’s Cultural & Artistic Legacy was made possible by a 2018 gift of Korean ceramics together with other gifts and recent purchases. Funding was provided by The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
To connect with the Department of the Arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, please contact Darienne Turner, Curatorial Assistant, at AAAPI@artbma.org.