The Smart Museum’s Asian collection encompasses a rich variety of forms, materials, and functions, ranging from millennia-old ritual objects to contemporary photography. It covers a wide geographic region but focuses on the traditional arts of East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan.
The works on view introduce the rich histories of the arts of China, Korea, and Japan, with a special emphasis on the media, traditions, and forms of art in all three cultures. Stretching across thousands of years, the works on view highlight key historical epochs and national styles. These objects reveal how foreign influences were adapted to local tastes and sketch out the lines of cultural transmission that are especially central to scholarly painting and Asian ceramic traditions. Modern and contemporary works on view—in old and new media—offer a creative dialogue with the past.
Current highlights include Tang dynasty tomb figures, a Ming dynasty Buddha sculpture, and Gandaharan sculpture.
Because scroll paintings and other works on paper are damaged by long-term exposure to light, displays change every four months.
The current presentation features Japanese hanging scrolls depicting monks and other Buddhist figures.