Asian Art


The collection of Asian art includes diverse materials from China, Japan, Korea, Southeast and Central Asia, and India, dating from Neolithic to present times. The strengths of the collection are in Chinese and Japanese art ranging from Neolithic pottery and jade, ancient ritual bronze vessels, ceramics, lacquerware, metalware, and sculpture to woodblock prints, painting, and calligraphy. In the arts of China, the collections of calligraphy and painting rank among the finest outside Asia. Calligraphic works range from Buddhist and Daoist scriptures of the Tang dynasty to poems, records, and letters from the Song dynasty. Among the paintings are rare masterpieces from the Song and Yuan dynasties as well as numerous examples by later masters. The collection also includes Shang dynasty oracle bones, ancient ritual bronze vessels, ceramic vessels and figurines, Buddhist sculpture, and a rare group of Liao or Jin dynasty painted wood tomb panels and coffin boards from the tenth to thirteenth centuries. The Museum has the nucleus of a fine collection of Japanese art, with works ranging from Jōmon to modern period ceramics, Heian and Kamakura period sculpture, as well as painting, calligraphy, screens, and woodblock prints from the Heian to contemporary periods. The elegance of Korean celadon and porcelain ceramics are also displayed. Metal, stone, and terracotta sculptures from Southeast Asia, India, Gandhara, and other Central Asian regions make it possible for the visitor to trace Buddhist sculptural styles from early forms to later developments in East Asia. Works from the collection are exhibited in the Asian galleries on a rotating basis throughout the year.

Selections from the Princeton University Art Museum's Asian art collection are presented in the Asian Art Website. The arts of Asia are examined in a cultural and historical context. 

Also visit the exhibition website The Tōkaidō Road: 19th and 20th Century Journeys through Japanese Prints.

To link to the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, click here.

New on View: In the Garden

In the Garden seeks to demonstrate the rich connections gardens have with nature, culture, and art. Some paintings portray gatherings set in gardens; others depict open landscapes that can be read as gardens based on the activities they host; still others capture small scenes composed of rocks, insects, and flowers that draw on the iconography of the garden to represent human virtues such as fidelity and humility.

Faces and Facets: Recent Acquisitions

This summer, the Princeton University Art Museum features 50 exceptional recent acquisitions in a special installation that underlines both the continuing ambition of the Museum’s collecting activities and the universal scope of its collections.

Beyond the Classroom: Shanghai

"Anxious Metropolis: Shanghai’s Urban Cultures, 1842–2012" was a new course offered during the fall semester. Central to the course was a study trip to Shanghai, where the sixteen students were able to experience what they had learned in the classroom.

New on View: Recently Acquired Japanese Screens

The Museum is pleased to announce the recent installation of an elegant pair of newly acquired screens painted by Kano Tan’yū, together measuring more than twenty-three feet in width.  Tan’yū, a pivotal figure in 17th-century Japanese art, composed a minimalist landscape of the four seasons, which unfold from right to left: spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

New Acquisition: View of the Sumida River

The bijinga, or picture of a beautiful woman, is a central theme in ukiyo-e, paintings and prints featuring landscapes, tales, actors, and courtesans in Edo Japan (1600–1868).

Cary Liu

Curator of Asian Art

Cary Y. Liu is a specialist in Chinese architectural history and art history; he holds M.Arch. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University and is a licensed architect. Recent exhibitions for which he has been curator include Outside In: Chinese x American x Contemporary Art (2009); Providing for the Afterlife: "Brilliant Artifacts" from Shandong (2005); Recarving China's Past: Art, Archaeology, and Architecture of the "Wu Family Shrines" (2005); and The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection (1999). Among his publications are contributions to Art of the Sung and Yüan: Ritual, Ethnicity, and Style in Painting (1999) and to the journals Hong Kong University Museum Journal, Oriental Art, Orientations, Taida Journal, and T'oung Pao. He also published the essays "Between the Titans: Constructions of Modernity and Tradition at the Dawn of Chinese Architectural History" in Bridges to Heaven: Essays on East Asian Art in Honor of Professor Wen C. Fong (2011) and "Chinese Architectural Aesthetics: Patterns of Living and Being between Past and Present" in House, Home, Family: Living and Being Chinese (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005).

Zoe Kwok

Assistant Curator of Asian Art

Zoe S. Kwok joined the Art Museum in 2013 and is a specialist in Chinese art history.  She has a B.A. in history and art history from Wellesley College, an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Harvard University, and received a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2013. Prior to joining the Art Museum, Kwok was an adjunct visiting professor at Franklin & Marshall College.  She has also worked at the National Palace Museum, Taiwan and was a Fulbright Fellow in China.