The Asian collection includes many ancient and historic objects from China, Japan, South Korea, Tibet, Turkey, and Iran. Through a founding gift made by Owen and Leone Elliot, many examples of jade and ivory entered the museum collection from Song, Ming, and Ching Dynasty China, as well as woodblock prints from Edo- and Meiji-era Japan. Notable ancient works from China include ceramic pottery, gold ornaments, and Buddhist sculptures from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation. Two scroll paintings that have received substantial scholarly attention are also from ancient China: Xiangjian Huang’s Scenery on the San-tu Pass (1657), and Wang Hui’s Setting out at Dawn on the Autumn River (1715). The collection also includes a small selection of textiles from China, northern India, and Sumatra as well as 50 Turkish wool and cotton rugs and storage bags gifted by Keith Achepohl in 2012. From southern Asia, the collection also features the Waswo X. Waswo Collection of Indian Printmaking, which includes nearly 300 modern and contemporary works created by more than 120 artists, such as Prathap Modi, Kurma Nadham, Durga Prasad Bandi, Soghra Khurasani, and Kalpathi Ganpathi Subramanyan.

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Collection Highlights

Carved head with tranquil face, eyes looking downward, and an elaborate headpiece

Head of a Bodhisattva

Unrecorded artist; China
Etching in red and gold, depicting the lower part of a persons legs, with bare feet resting inside of a circle and fish, water, and decorative designs on either side.

Virginal Ceremony

Moutushi Chakraborty
Oval-bodied vessel with short, narrow neck. The dark glaze is decorated with Japanese calligraphic characters.

Tamba sake bottle

Unrecorded artist; Japan
Silk robe in deep blue with metallic gold embroidery. It has bunched black sleeves with gold detailing. Eight gold metallic dragons fly across the blue fabric panel between swirling cloud, bat, and peony motifs, also in gold embroidery.

Man's jifu (semiformal court robe)

Unrecorded artist; China
A square woolen bag with two small rectangles extending from the top on either side. It is black and is woven with a motif of cream colored diamonds, and is covered in many goat hair tassels in cream, black, and red.

Kasik Torbasi (Spoon Bag)

Unrecorded artist; Turkey
Woodblock print of a large dark blue wave with frothing white caps. The crest rises from the left and reaches out over a mountain in the middle which appears small and distant. Three long boats with people in grey robes ride the wave.

The Great Wave

Katsushika Hokusai
A large woolen rug which is primarily a deep red, and has detailed  woven designs in other muted colors as well as a row of cream colored tassels on either end.

Kilim (rug)

Unrecorded artist; Turkey
A lithograph print in white and shades of blue which features a deep blue backdrop on top of which a series of symmetrical organic shapes are stacked, creating a sort of tower or abstract plant form.


G. R. Santosh