The Spencer’s collection of more than 7,500 Asian art objects ranges from the Neolithic period to the 21st century. As home to the majority of the world’s population, the continent of Asia encompasses a diverse range of visual arts and culture that the Museum’s collection highlights through a variety of holdings.
The Museum’s Asian collection began with the founding gift from Sallie Casey Thayer, which included Japanese color woodblock prints, examples of East Asian ceramic traditions, textiles from across Asia, and Buddhist art, all of which remain core strengths of the collection. With the addition of new faculty and curatorial expertise in the 1980s, the painting traditions of East Asia emerged as a new collecting focus. The collection includes examples of later traditions of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese ink-and-brush painting such as calligraphy, folding screens, and hanging and hand scrolls. The collection continues to grow with new acquisitions that represent the vibrant artistic production of Asia.