Asian Art (2015–2016)

Janis Kanter and Thomas McCormick Gallery

Above: Installation view of the Smart's Asian art gallery, showing ancient and contemporary works including Zhan Wang's Ornamental Rock (1996).

Top: Gandharan, Kneeling and Seated Mourners, circa 3rd to 4th century, Carved gray-green schist bas (low)-relief. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Gift of Lewis and Susan Manilow, 1999.87.

The 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 arts of East Asia and of Buddhism. 

The paintings, sculptures, and ceramics on view in 2015–2016 introduce the rich histories of the arts of China, Korea, and Japan, with special emphasis on the diverse styles, media, and imagery of all three cultures.

Stretching across thousands of years, these secular and religious objects highlight key historical epochs and national styles. They also reveal how foreign art forms and ideas were adapted to local tastes, and sketch out the lines of inter-regional cultural transmission that are especially central to scholarly painting and ceramic traditions in East Asia.

Modern and contemporary works on view—in old and new media—offer a creative dialogue with the past.

Collection rotations

A small area of the gallery is dedicated to displays of scroll paintings. These installations rotate every four months to protect the works from damage caused by long-term exposure to light.