Asian art is so vast that it is a pleasure to find a collection of the best of Asian art at the one place. Metropolitan Museum is the largest and most comprehensive in the West. It exhibits the outstanding works of artists of each of the many civilizations of Asia. These great masterpieces are an unrivaled experience of the artistic traditions of nearly half the world both in terms of quality and breadth.
The collection of more than 60,000 objects, which range in date from the second millennium B.C. to the early twentieth century, includes paintings, prints, calligraphy, sculptures, metalwork, ceramics, lacquers, works of decorative art, and textiles from East Asia, South Asia, the Himalayan kingdoms, and Southeast Asia.
The department of Asian Art is renowned for its Chinese calligraphy and paintings that include both monumental landscapes and more intimate glimpses of nature. It is also famous for its Japanese folding screens and woodblock prints and its assemblage of functional, ritual, and luxury objects in many media. Stone and metal sculptures from South and Southeast Asia and early paintings from Nepal and Tibet are other areas of strength within the collection.
You can see the highlights from the Department of Asian Art online also. They are organized first by country of origin and, within countries, chronologically. Most, if not all, of the works shown on the site will be on view when you visit the Museum. Certain gallery installations, such as those of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, and Tibetan paintings, rotate every six months, and displays of more fragile textiles, lacquers, and woodblock prints change approximately every four months.
The Metropolitan Museum has been collecting Asian art since the late nineteenth century. It now has an entire wing devoted to Asian art, occupying 64,500 square feet. Going through the museum is like having a glimpse of the very heart of Asian art and culture.