BALTIMORE — The Walters Art Museum opens a trio of exhibitions on Sunday, September 30, 2018 that celebrate the wonders of its collection of East Asian art, which is one of the most expansive in North America.
“These exhibitions demonstrate a deep commitment to showcase our collection in new ways,” said Julia Marciari-Alexander, Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director. “We invite you to spend time with these extraordinary works of art and examine the role art plays in our lives.”
Japanese Woodblock Prints showcases more than 40 lively prints dating from the 17th through 19th centuries from the Walters’ collection. Japanese woodblock prints are often credited to individual artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige.
However, these celebrated and beautiful works of art are the products of masterfully orchestrated collaborations among publishers, artists, carvers, and printers; their distinct roles are explored in this exhibition.
A one-object installation, The Return of the Buddha focuses on the Walters’ renowned 6th-century lacquer Buddha, which returns to the Walters from an exhibition at the Freer|Sackler museum in Washington, D.C. This life-sized sculpture has awed audiences with its magnificence and remarkable history—it is the earliest surviving object of its kind. The Walters’ conservation team reveals fascinating information about the Buddha’s construction and its origins, emphasizing the sophisticated materials and artistry involved in its creation.
Chinese Snuff Bottles displays 250 of these small wonders from the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). Visitors can marvel at these tiny objects, delicately crafted from stone, glass, porcelain, ivory, lacquer, enamel, and precious metals. Among the most breathtaking examples are “inside-painted” snuff bottles, with calligraphy or landscapes painted by inserting a tiny brush into the bottle.
“What unites these exhibitions is their emphasis on objects made for desire and devotion,” said Amy Landau, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Islamic and South & Southeast Asian Art. “In this trio of exhibitions, we explore the different stories and perspectives revealed by the Japanese and Chinese works of art beloved by museum visitors, as we look ahead to the future re-installation of the Walters’ East Asian collection.”
The Walters Art Museum is a cultural hub in the heart of Baltimore, located at 600 N. Charles Street in the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.