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Asian Art


The collection of Asian art at the Metropolitan Museum—more than 35,000 objects, ranging in date from the third millennium B.C. to the twenty-first century—is one of the largest and is the most comprehensive in the West. Each of the many civilizations of Asia is represented by outstanding works, providing an unrivaled experience of the artistic traditions of nearly half the world.

Now at the Met

Unfolding the Narrative: Depictions of the Royal Hunt

Kalyani Madhura Ramachandran, Former Solow Graduate Intern in South and Southeast Asian Art, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

As a recent graduate intern in the Department of Asian Art, I had the chance to observe the installation of the exhibition The Royal Hunt: Courtly Pursuits in Indian Art, on view through December 8, 2015. This was a rare opportunity for me to not only interact with a diverse set of experts across the Museum, all of whom worked collaboratively towards putting the exhibition together, but especially to examine up-close the objects on display.

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Now at the Met

Modeling the World: Ancient Architectural Models Now on View

Joanne Pillsbury, Andrall E. Pearson Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum's permanent collection is unusually rich in archaeological architectural effigies—often called models—from around the globe, including works from Middle Bronze Age Syria, Ancient Egypt, and Han Dynasty China. Now, joining these remarkable works under the Met's roof are the fifty Precolumbian models featured in the exhibition Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas, on view through September 18, 2016.

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Now at the Met

Porcelain Obsession: Denise Patry Leidy on Her New Book, How to Read Chinese Ceramics

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015

A new publication in the highly popular How to Read series, How to Read Chinese Ceramics, by Denise Patry Leidy, Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art and an expert in the field, is perfect for students who want to learn more about this fascinating, centuries-old tradition and is just in time for the start of the school year. This book introduces readers to the principal types of Chinese ceramics and covers the progression and development of the medium, using examples from the Met's comprehensive collection.

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Now at the Met

Decorous and Deadly: Weapons of the Royal Hunt in India

Rachel Parikh, Mellon Curatorial Fellow, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Royal Hunt: Courtly Pursuits in Indian Art, on view through December 8, brings together vibrant Mughal and Rajasthani paintings that depict royalty, nobility, and courtiers engaged in the dynamic yet dangerous sport of hunting. In addition to artworks from the Departments of Asian Art and Islamic Art, a group of weapons and hunting accessories loaned by the Department of Arms and Armor are also on display, which provide not only a greater understanding of the royal hunt, but also a rare opportunity to see these objects in person.

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Now at the Met

What's in a Face?

Soyoung Lee, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Portraits can reveal so much about the character of the person depicted, beyond the obvious physical traits. What can you tell about the gentleman in this painting?

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Spectrum Spotlight—China: Through the Looking Glass

Christopher Gorman, Assistant Administrator, Marketing and External Relations; Chair, Spectrum

Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Andrew Bolton, curator in The Costume Institute, recently spoke with me about the special exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, extended through September 7.

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Now at the Met

A Reunion after Sixty Years: The Lin Yutang Family Collection

Shi-yee Liu, Assistant Research Curator of Chinese Art, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, June 26, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum's collection of Chinese painting and calligraphy, one of the finest outside China in both quality and scope, is largely built upon the acquisition of a few private collections. The nearly three hundred works that entered the Museum from the collections of C. C. Wang (1907–2003), the Edward Elliot Family, and John M. Crawford, Jr. (1913–88) in the 1970s and 1980s include several of the most important extant Song (960–1279) and Yuan (1271–1368) pieces today. Spanning the period from the eleventh to the nineteenth century, these works form the core of the department's painting and calligraphy collection from dynastic China.

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Now at the Met

Vernal Splendor: Kano Sansetsu's Old Plum

Aaron Rio, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015

In Kano Sansetsu's Old Plum—currently on view in the exhibition Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and the Met—a wizened plum tree stirs in the cold of early spring. At lower right, its buckled trunk rises near pillar-like rocks and a thicket of bamboo grass (sasayabu) before stretching to the left, heaving and gyrating its way across a sixteen-foot expanse of gold foil. Green lichen clings to its knotty trunk and icy white blossoms open on its fragile twigs, frozen stiff against the gold.

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Installing Sacred Traditions of the Himalayas: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Kurt Behrendt, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art ; Kristine Kamiya, Associate Conservator, Department of Textile Conservation; and Matthew Cumbie, Conservation Preparator, Department of Objects Conservation

Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015

During the earliest stages of conceptualizing the Sacred Traditions of the Himalayas exhibition, on view through June 14, I went through the Metropolitan Museum's holdings and came across a stunning body of jewelry that came to the collection in 1915. As the Department of Asian Art is celebrating its centennial this year, I was excited to have the opportunity to present the very first Himalayan works to come into our collection—the first of many works acquired beginning exactly one hundred years ago.

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The Shapes of Things, or, How the Ding Met the Tureen

Denise Patry Leidy, Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015

This spring, the subject of cultural exchange between China and the West has been a hot topic thanks to the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art. Yet fashion is by no means the only arena in which Western artists have been inspired by Chinese objects. For instance, bronze ritual vessels known as ding (figs. 1 and 2), which emerged during China's Bronze Age (ca. 1600–221 B.C.), have long inspired objects ranging from Korean chaekgori screens to Viennese bowls.

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About this Blog

Now at the Met offers in-depth articles and multimedia features about the Museum's current exhibitions, events, research, announcements, behind-the-scenes activities, and more.