Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 10, Asia

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 10, Asia

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, introduction by Richard M. Barnhart
158 pages
139 illustrations
9 x 12 in
View More Publication Info

The vast Asian landmass, so often viewed as a monolith from outside, is, in fact, a complex region of cultural diversity and distinctive national traditions that have developed continuously for nearly 5,000 years. By the third millennium B.C., China, for example, seems to have created the social, political, and artistic organization that has continued to the present day. This volume presents a panoramic vision of the artistic and cultural developments in Asia as illustrated by masterpieces in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Objects seen here span the centuries, from the ritual vessels fashioned by the Chinese in the Bronze Age to the Japanese prints that revolutionized the vision of the early French Impressionists in the nineteenth century.

A great body of work, in an awesome variety of mediums—painting and calligraphy; icons, both sculpted and painted; ritual vessels from the Bronze Age; elegant ceramics; exquisitely carved jades; sumptuous lacquers; and elaborate textiles—provides a multidimensional view of this fascinating world. The strong religious links between the Asian nations, as well as their individuality, are witnessed by a sampling of the great Buddhist art that surfaced, in different guises, throughout the area. There is the elegant sixth-century bronze Gandharan Buddha from the Indian subcontinent; the Zao Gongen—a uniquely Japanese eleventh-century version of Buddha; the majestic fourteenth-century wall painting The Assembly of the Buddha Sakyamuni from Shansi province in China; and the tenth-century painted ceramic statue of a lohan (Buddhist disciple) found in a mountain cave in China where it had survived centuries of dynastic struggles.

As art is a mirror of the society that produces it, in this volume we see the graciousness of the life of the scholar-gentleman in old-world China through the Astor Court, the refined beauty of the decorative screens of the Japanese Ogata Korin, the rich subtlety of costumes designed for the Nō Theater in Japan, stately golden earrings from the first century B.C. in India, and a magnificent eleventh-century bronze statue of a Cambodian goddess. Almost 140 objects are reproduced in full color, creating a vibrant portrait of Asia through the centuries.

Deep Vessel, Earthenware with cord-marked decoration and sculptural rim, Japan
Body ornament, Steatite, Japan
ca. 2000 BCE
Nigatsudō Burned Sutra, Unidentified artist, Hanging scroll; silver ink on indigo-dyed paper, Japan
Unidentified artist
ca. 744
Zaō Gongen, Gilt bronze with incised decoration, Japan
11th century
Fudō Myōō (Achala-vidyārāja), Wood with lacquer, gold leaf, and color; joined-woodblock construction (yosegi-zukuri), Japan
12th century
“Universal Gateway,” Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra
, Sugawara Mitsushige  Japanese, Handscroll; ink, color, and gold on paper, Japan
Sugawara Mitsushige
dated 1257
Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Tenjin Shrine (Kitano Tenjin engi emaki), Set of five handscrolls; ink, color, and cut gold leaf (kirikane) on paper, Japan
late 13th century
Eleven-Headed Kannon on Mount Fudaraku, Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk, Japan
13th century
Jizō, Bodhisattva of the Earth Store (Kshitigarbha), Wood with lacquer, pigment, and cut gold, Japan
second half 13th century
The Rebellions of the Hōgen and Heiji Eras

, Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper, Japan
17th century
Armor (Gusoku), Iron, leather, lacquer, silk, copper alloy, Japanese
19th century
Armor (<i>Yoroi</i>) of Ashikaga Takauji (1305–1358), Iron, leather, lacquer, silk, copper, gold, pigments, Japanese
early–mid-14th century
Old Plum, Kano Sansetsu  Japanese, Four sliding-door panels (fusuma); ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper, Japan
Kano Sansetsu
Sake Ewer (Hisage) with Chrysanthemums and Paulownia Crests in Alternating Fields, Lacquered wood with gold hiramaki-e and e-nashiji (“pear-skin picture”) on black ground, Japan
early 17th century
Tureen with rocks, flowers, and birds, Porcelain painted with cobalt blue under and colored enamels over transparent glaze (Arita ware; Kakiemon type), Japan
18th century
Bottle with Rock, Flowers, and Birds, Porcelain painted with colored enamels over transparent glaze (Hizen ware; Kakiemon type), Japan
17th century
Rough Waves, Ogata Kōrin  Japanese, Two-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper, Japan
Ogata Kōrin
ca. 1704–9
Irises at Yatsuhashi (Eight Bridges), Ogata Kōrin  Japanese, Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on gold leaf on paper, Japan
Ogata Kōrin
after 1709
Robe (Kosode) with Cherry Blossoms and Cypress Fence

, Silk and metallic thread embroidery with resist dyeing on satin damask, Japan
second half of the 17th century
Noh Robe (Karaori) with Pattern of Bamboo and Young Pines on Bands of Red and White, Silk twill weave with resist-dyed warps and supplementary weft patterning (karaori), Japan
19th century
Showing 20 of 108

View Citations

Barnhart, Richard M., and John Philip O’Neill. 1987. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan museum of art.