The Asian Art Section displays a multitude of artwork and cultural objects gathered
from throughout the world’s largest continent, featuring pieces that reflect the universal
aspects of Asian culture while simultaneously representing the unique characteristics
of each country.
China—home to the Huang He (Yellow) River basin, birthplace of one of the four ancient civilizations of the world—is marked by thriving cultures from different periods of time, and by development based on the co-existence of past and present cultures. With its prodigious landscapes and legions of disparate ethnic groups, the world’s most populous nation has witnessed numerous cycles of transformation over thousands of years.
The representative relics of ancient China include jade objects and painted pottery from the Neolithic Age and bronze wares from the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties, which also symbolize the onset of ancient Chinese civilization. The introduction of Buddhism during the Eastern Han Dynasty led to the development and maintenance of a number of cave temples and Buddhist temples, which for centuries served as spiritual havens for Chinese people. During the Tang Dynasty, the aristocratic culture of the country began to flourish, emblematized by the practice of making metal crafts and sancai (three-colored ceramics). Then, in the Song Dynasty, huge quantities of Chinese pottery were produced and exported around the world, which was the prelude to the emergence of modern-day China.