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About The Met/ Collection Areas/ Asian Art/ Collection Highlights

Collection Highlights

View more than 2,000 Asian Art objects currently on display in the galleries, or browse the collection by cultural area (below).

Arts of China

The Met collection of Chinese painting and calligraphy ranks among the finest outside China, with masterpieces dating from the eighth to the twenty-first centuries. Another great strength is the collection of Chinese Buddhist sculpture from the fifth through the nineteenth century. The collections of antiquities and works of art range from the third millennium B.C. to the present, including jades, bronzes, lacquer, textiles, ceramics, and works in other media. An often visited area of the Museum is the Astor Court, modeled after a courtyard in a seventeenth-century domestic residence in Suzhou, a city famous for its gardens. Opening onto the courtyard is a room displaying hardwood furniture of the same period.

Highlights of Chinese Art

Bowl with Dragons among Waves
Buddha, probably Amitabha
Altar Set
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Arts of Japan

The full range of Japanese art—from Neolithic ceramics (ca. 1500–300 B.C.) to Meiji period (1868–1912) paintings, woodblock prints, and textiles to contemporary ceramics and works of art—is presented chronologically in eleven rooms. Traditional details, such as an altar platform (based on a twelfth-century example) for the display of Buddhist sculptures and a small shoin-style reception room typical of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, are at the heart of the Arts of Japan galleries. Highlights include thirteenth- and fourteenth-century narrative paintings (handscrolls) known as emaki, a collection of folding screens dating from the fifteenth through the nineteenth century, and Edo-period lacquer and porcelains for domestic use and export.

Highlights of Japanese Art

Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Tenjin Shrine (Kitano Tenjin engi emaki)
Rough Waves
Old Plum
Zaō Gongen
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Arts of Korea

Ceramics and metalwork of the Silla kingdom (57 B.C.–A.D. 935) and paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and lacquers of the Goryeo (918–1392) and Joseon (1392–1910) dynasties, together with thematic exhibitions featuring loans from collections in the United States and abroad, provide a comprehensive overview of Korea's artistic and cultural heritage.

Highlights of Korean Art

Bird-shaped vessel
Pensive bodhisattva
Rafter finial in the shape of a dragon’s head and wind chime
Wine Ewer with Chrysanthemums and Lotus Flowers
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Arts of the Indian Subcontinent

The Met presents one of the most comprehensive installations of the temple arts of South Asia outside Asia, encompassing the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions, and spanning more than 2000 years of devotional art. Included are the arts of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Major strengths include the Gandharan art of the northwest (first to fourth century), Gupta North India (third to sixth century), the greater Kashmir region (sixth to tenth century), Pala-era eastern India (eighth to thirteenth century), and Chola South India (ninth to thirteenth century). The Buddhist art of Sri Lanka in rock crystal, bronze, and ivory (third to nineteenth century) is of exceptional quality. Miniature paintings, from twelfth-century illustrated Buddhist manuscripts to later court paintings of north India, Rajasthan, and the Pahari regions of the Punjab hills (sixteenth to early nineteenth century), are another strength, along with textiles and selected applied arts. Chromolithographic devotional prints bring the collection into the twentieth century.

Highlights from the Indian Subcontinent

Goddess who bestows riches, probably Sri Lakshmi
Patravahaka yaksha
A Pair of Royal Earrings
Tree Spirit Deity (Yakshi)
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Arts of Southeast Asia

This area of the collection represents the artistic legacy of Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Featured are a pan-regional collection of proto-historic Dongson and related culture bronzes, early Hindu and Buddhist stone and bronze sculptures (seventh to eighth century), and a major group of Javanese bronze and gold pieces and related ritual objects (ninth to fifteenth century). Also on view are works from the Mon culture of Thailand and a gallery devoted to Angkorian Cambodia and Cham Vietnam (ninth to thirteenth century), including monumental stone and metal sculptures. Myanmar and later Thai and Vietnamese arts are represented by Buddhist sculptures and exceptionally high-quality glazed ceramics.

Highlights of Southeast Asian Art

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Standing Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion
Bodhisattva  Avalokiteshvara
Buddha Attended by Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya
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Arts of the Himalayas—Nepal and Tibet

Nepal is richly represented with religious art produced in the service of both the Nepalese Hindu and the Newar Buddhist communities. The collection is exceptionally strong in early paintings on cloth and gilt bronze images of esoteric Buddhist and Hindu deities, many of them dating to the early Malla period (eleventh to fifteenth century). The collection celebrates the artistry of the Newar community concentrated in the Kathmandu Valley, which also produced superb ritual art for Tibetan clients. Early Tibetan paintings and sculptures of exceptional rarity are presented, including objects for ritual and meditational use in the Vajrayana Buddhist setting of the numerous monasteries that traditionally populated the Tibetan plateau. These are complemented by painted manuscript covers and ritual implements central to Vajrayana practice.

Highlights of Himalayan Art

Vishnu Riding on Garuda
The Bodhisattva Manjushri as a Ferocious Destroyer of Ignorance
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