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East Asian Art

Representing more than 4,500 years of visual history, VMFA’s East Asian collection features paintings, prints, sculptures, textiles, ceramics, metalwork, objects in lacquer and jade, and other art forms from China, Japan, and Korea. Collection themes include the Bronze Age, the spread of Buddhism, cross-cultural influences, ceramic development and trade, poetry and calligraphy, scholars’ implements, tea-ceremony vessels, and incense art.

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Chinese

The core of VMFA’s Chinese art collection features ritual bronzes and jades, as well as Buddhist sculpture, dating from the 6th through the 11th century. Paintings include portraiture, landscape, and genre scenes along with textiles and costumes such as embroidered hangings and imperial robes from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Examples of ceramics, lacquers, furniture, and other decorative objects reveal masterful craftsmanship. Chinese holdings also include a recent acquisition of more than three-hundred scrolls of calligraphy and painting.

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Korean

VMFA’s growing collection of Korean art contains fine examples of ceramics, metalwork, lacquerware, and painting that span more than 1,500 years. The collection of ceramics, ranging from earthenware to celadon, and white porcelain with underglaze cobalt decoration, began to develop in the 1970s. A recent acquisition introduced into the collection seventy examples of Korean ceramic vessels and roof tiles dating from the Unified Silla, Goryeo, and Joseon dynasties. Other holdings include traditional and contemporary paintings, furniture, and textiles.

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Japanese

VMFA’s Japanese collection developed in the 1960s, and ranges from Buddhist sculptures and ritual objects, to religious and genre paintings and screens, dating from the Heian, Kamakura, and Edo period. Many works were acquired directly from Japan, often from notable dealer Yamanaka & Company. The collection’s strengths include monumental sculptures, religious portraiture, landscape and genre paintings, and Zen Buddhist calligraphy. The collection is also enhanced by large holdings of woodblock prints, ranging from traditional ukiyo-e through shin-hanga prints.

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