The Chinese collection is acclaimed as one of the finest in the West. With more than 7,000 works spanning 5,000 years, the collection comprises masterpieces from every phase and in every medium of China’s artistic activity.
Bronzes and Jades
Ancient Chinese bronzes and jades include celebrated pieces such as a hu wine vessel of the Shang Dynasty (16th century—1046 B.C.E) and a ritual jade disc of the 3rd century B.C.E.
Chinese Painting Collection
The collection of Chinese paintings is one of the most important outside Asia, particularly in the 10th through 13th centuries, and includes masterworks such as Xu Daoning’s Fisherman’s Evening Song, and Li Cheng’s A Solitary Temple Amid Clearing Peaks.
Buddhist Sculpture and Wall Paintings
Buddhist sculpture and wall paintings range from the 5th to 18th centuries. A jewel of the museum is the Chinese Temple Gallery (Gallery 230), which displays a 12th-century polychrome wooden figure of Guanyin of the Southern Sea, heralded as the finest sculpture of its kind outside China.
Chinese Furniture, Ceramics and Textiles
The museum was a pioneer in the collecting of Chinese furniture and is famed for its Ming (1368–1644) and early Qing (1644–1911) hardwood furniture. The ceramics collection includes tomb sculptures, stonewares and porcelains that chronicle the great epochs of Chinese ceramic innovations. The collection also includes more than 500 silk textiles dating from the 2nd century B.C.E. to the 20th century.
Ritual Wine Vessel (hu), 12th-11th century B.C.E. Chinese. Bronze, 16 x 11 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 55-52.
Pair of Fittings, possibly for a chariot, Early 3rd century B.C.E. Chinese. Gilt bronze inlaid with glass, 12 1/2 x 4 x 2 1/2 inches. Purchase: the Lillian M. Diveley Fund, Menefee D. Blackwell Fund, Hall Family Foundation. Endowment for the Oriental Department, Asian Art Acquisition Fund in memory of Laurence Sickman and Thomas L. Beckett Fund, 2000.15.1.
Guanyin of the Southern Sea, Chinese, 11th/12th century, Liao (907-1125) or Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). Wood with polychrome, 95 x 65 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 34-10. Gallery 230.
Five-lobed Vase, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Chinese. Carved ivory, h x diam: 3 15/16 x 1 5/16 inches. Bequest of Laurence Sickman, F88-40/45.
Ritual Disc with Dragon Motifs (Bi), Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771-256 B.C.E.). Chinese. Jade (nephrite), diam: 6 1/2 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 33-81.
Canopy Bed with Alcove, 16th century. Chinese. Huanghuali wood with 19th century painted soft wood base and canopy, silk gauze curtains and silver hooks, 91 x 86 1/4 x 84 1/4 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 64-4/4.
Attributed to: Li Cheng, Chinese (919-967 C.E.) A Solitary Temple Amid Clearing Peaks, Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Hanging scroll, ink and slight color on silk, Image: 44 x 22 inches. Overall (1-1/2 inches hanging string): 88 x 22 1/2 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 47-71.
Vases, Xuande Period (1426-1435). Chinese. Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration, h x diam: 21 3/4 x 11 1/2 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 40-45/1,2.
Offering Procession of the Empress as Donor with Her Court, ca. 522 C.E. Chinese. Fine, dark-gray limestone, 80 inches x 9 feet 1 1/2 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 40-38.
Flower Vase with Dragon Motif, Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Chinese. Stoneware decorated in sgraffito technique, h x diam: 22 3/8 x 10 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 35-116.
Model of a Multi-Storied Tower, 1st century C.E. Chinese. Earthenware with unfired pigments, 52 x 33 1/2 x 27 inches. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 33-521.