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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

A Rare Opportunity to See the Genius of Ancient Chinese Bronze Casters

Zhixin Jason Sun, Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A cast-bronze buffalo from the Shanghai Museum is now on view in the exhibition Innovation and Spectacle: Chinese Ritual Bronzes (through March 8, 2015). This fantastic animal-shaped vessel once served as a wine warmer in sacrificial rituals in the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 b.c.).

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Teen Blog

A Sanctuary at the Met

Hannah, Former High School Intern

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014

The last time I was wandering around the Met, I heard four successive "Wows!" exclaimed by awestruck museumgoers as they entered gallery 206, the entrance to the Asian Art galleries. This comes as no surprise to me, as the impressive thirteen-foot-high statue of the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva that sits in the gallery is stunningly amazing. The entire gallery is quite remarkable. However, what I feel is truly amazing about this part of the Museum is the immediate quietness and tranquility one encounters when they walk up the steps into the smaller galleries that make up the wing.

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Now at the Met

Celebrating #NetsukeNovember on Twitter

Anabelle Gambert-Jouan, Graduate Intern, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Monday, November 17, 2014

The Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts a collection of almost one thousand netsuke, with a particular emphasis on works from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition to the selection currently displayed in the exhibition Kimono: A Modern History, on view September 27, 2014–January 19, 2015, daily netsuke posts can also be seen on the Museum's Twitter account throughout the month of November as part of the campaign #NetsukeNovember.

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Now at the Met

Waves, Waterfalls, and Whirling Water on Japanese Kimono

Monika Bincsik, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The way that kimonos are used and the types of designs to decorate them have shifted dramatically over the last 150 years, shaped by the dialogue of Japanese traditional craft art with modern inventions and Western ideas. As shown in a selection of objects currently found in the exhibition Kimono: A Modern History, on view through January 19, 2015, we can follow this narrative of cultural interaction by focusing on the depiction of water motifs used on kimono.

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Teen Blog

A Guard's Regard

Lizzie, Former High School Intern

Posted: Friday, November 7, 2014

A person can have an individual relationship with art, but at The Metropolitan Museum of Art there is often a third party involved when strolling through the galleries: the security guard. It didn't take me long to realize how wise the guards at the Met are: Many of these men and women are extremely curious about art and how it is perceived, and therefore take advantage of being in one of the world's greatest museums during their work day.

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In Circulation

The Art of Japanese Books

Mindell Dubansky, Preservation Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Earlier this month, the Thomas J. Watson Library sponsored two events devoted to the scholarship of Japanese books of the Edo period. These events were developed to create an environment of collegial collaboration surrounding the subject of Japanese books and to celebrate the Museum's acquisition of the Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books, a group of over 250 ehon (illustrated books) from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.

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Met Museum Presents Blog

Reflecting on Gods and Goddesses

Kurt Behrendt, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The three-part Gods and Goddesses lecture series, which concluded on September 30, attempted to broadly address the multifaceted deities of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religions—faiths that are at the foundation of South Asia's great sculptural tradition. The first lecture began with Buddhism, tracing its image-making tradition that emerged to give manifest form to the Buddha's enlightened relics. Over time it continued to reflect developments within the Buddhist tradition, with the imagery becoming more complex as artists strove to represent subtle aspects of ideology.

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Now at the Met

The Art of the Chinese Album

Joseph Scheier-Dolberg, Assistant Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, September 12, 2014

During the summer of 1644, the city of Nanjing lived beneath a cloud of anxiety and fear. The once-vibrant southern capital of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) had become home to the remnants of the Ming court, a bedraggled and shaken group who had fled south after the fall of Beijing in April of that year. The shock of seeing their capital fall, of witnessing their young emperor retreat behind the Forbidden City and commit suicide—these were the traumas that the court brought south to Nanjing. Even as they struggled to establish a temporary capital in the south, up north the Manchus prepared to complete their conquest of the empire. Like a city preparing for the arrival of a hurricane, Nanjing waited, and feared.

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In Circulation

100円ショップ スキャニング (Hyaku-en Shoppu Sukyaningu): Digitizing Priceless Books with Dollar-Store Materials

Dan Lipcan, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

One exciting project currently happening in the Watson Library this summer is the visit of Professor Ryo Akama and two assistants from the Ritsumeikan University's Art Research Center and College of Letters in Kyoto, Japan. They arrived on August 18 and will remain on-site until September 5, during which time they will photograph the Department of Asian Art's recently acquired Vershbow collection of Japanese illustrated books, which was featured in a recent episode of MetCollects along with some wonderful photographs.

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Now at the Met

Hokusai and Debussy's Evocations of the Sea

Michael Cirigliano II, Website Editor, Digital Media Department

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Numerous representations of the sea are woven into the work of Claude Debussy (1862–1918). The French composer regularly referenced his awe of the sea and its power, and even noted that he had "intended for the noble career of a sailor" in a 1912 letter to close friend and composer André Messager. Although the sea had already played a recurring character throughout much of his piano music, the first appearance of this subject in Debussy's orchestral output was the final movement of his 1899 work Trois Nocturnes, "Sirènes," in which he gave life to the deadly mythological seductresses by adding a wordless female choir to the standard orchestral forces.

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