February 03, 2011
July 03, 2011
Korea Gallery (15), February 17-June 5
Maurice J. Sullivan Gallery (16), February 17-June 5
Buddhist Gallery (19), February 3-May 22
Japan Gallery (20), February 3-May 22
Gallery 14, March 10-July 3
In April 2011, the Association of Asian Studies and the International Convention of Asia Scholars, the world’s two leading organizations for the study of Asia, will hold a combined annual meeting in Honolulu. In honor of this historic event, the Academy will display throughout the permanent galleries highlights from its Asian art collections.
Under the rubric of Celebration of Paintings are five mini exhibitions:
• Masterpieces of Korean Art
• Rare Korean Paintings and Ceramics from the Collection
• Encounters with Nature: Highlights of Chinese Painting at the Academy
• Paths to Enlightenment: Japanese Buddhist Paintings from the Heian to Muromachi Periods
• Cultural Currents in Modern Japanese Painting
Asian art has featured prominently at the Academy since it opened in 1927. The museum’s founder, Anna Rice Cooke, established a core collection of Asian art that has allowed the Academy to become one of the leading international centers in fostering a deeper awareness of and appreciation for the contributions of Asia to world culture. A number of Mrs. Cooke’s initial gifts to the museum will be on view, such as the magnificent Shakyamuni and the Eight Great Bodhisattvas, a rare example of Korean Buddhist painting from the early Joseon period (1392-1910). Also on display in the Korea Gallery will be paintings from a late Goryeo (918-1392)-early Joseon set of the Kings of Hell, donated by former director Robert P. Griffing. Goryeo celadon ceramics were a passion of Mrs. Cooke, and a selection of the finest Korean ceramics from the Academy’s world-renowned holdings will be in the Korea Gallery.
During its early years, the Academy emphasized Chinese art, and Chinese influence can be seen in the museum’s architecture, especially in the Asian Courtyard, around which the Asian galleries are located.
The museum’s well-known collection of Chinese paintings begins with Buddhist wall painting fragments from the Tang dynasty (618-906) and culminates in masterpieces from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Our holdings are especially strong in paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries, and one of the greatest highlights is Scenes From the Life of Tao Yuanming, done by Chen Hongshou (1598-1652) in 1650, amidst the aftermath of the Manchu invasion that resulted in China’s last dynasty. This figure painting will be displayed with two dramatic handscroll landscapes by the innovative Wu Bin (flourished ca. 1568-ca. 1626) and The Coming of Autumn by the early Anhui School monk-artist Hongren (1610-1664), universally recognized as the finest work by this influential master of the brush.
The Academy’s collections are equally strong in pre-modern Japanese painting, in particular Buddhist art from the Kamakura (1185-1336) through the Muromachi (1392-1573) periods. Highlights of Buddhist and Shinto painting, including the monumental Taima Mandala and the exceptionally rare Kasuga Mandala, both from the 14th century, will be displayed with examples of Japanese sculpture from as early as the Heian period (794-1185), including some of the finest early Shinto sculptures outside Japan.
The Academy is a leader in scholarship on Japanese painting from the late Edo period (1615-1868) through the pre-World War II 20th century, having organized the world’s first major exhibition of Taishô-period (1912-1926) art, Taishô Chic: Japanese Modernity, Nostalgia and Deco, and Literati Modern: Bunjinga from Late Edo to Twentieth-Century Japan. In the Japan Gallery will be 20th-century paintings, ranging from paintings by the innovative literati artist Hirai Baisen (1889-1969) to iconic works such as Nakamura Daizaburô’s (1898-1947) portrait of Irie Takako (1911-1995).
These displays will be accompanied by two other special exhibitions—Ukiyo-e par Excellence and Depictions of Victories Over the Zunghars and the Muslim Tribes.—SHAWN EICHMAN, CURATOR OF ASIAN ART