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The Cincinnati Art Museum houses one of the oldest Asian art collections in the United States, representing the diverse cultures of India, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and Tibet with holdings of over 5,000 objects. Chinese art is the most comprehensive area of the collection, consisting of nearly 1000 objects and spanning 5,000 years of history. Among the many art forms represented in this collection are Neolithic pottery, ancient ritual bronzes and jades, Buddhist sculptures, paintings, screens, prints, ceramics, ivory, lacquer, enamel and metal wares and furniture.

The Japanese collection, with nearly 3000 objects, includes ceramics, paintings, screens, prints, arms and armor, lacquer and metal wares, ivory carvings and other crafts, is uniquely importantly as it chronicles a late nineteenth-century connection between Cincinnati and Japan.    

The most notable areas of the museum’s Indian art collection include a small group of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures. In addition, approximately 100 miniature paintings spanning the fifteenth century through the early twentieth century represent both Mughal and Rajput disciplines, primarily from the Rajasthani school of Northwest India.

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Featured Objects

Japanese tapestry of a prince sitting on his throne and the surrounding landscape Presentation of a Prince

Chiyo Mitsuhisa, 1982.6

Dr. Hou-mei Sung has served as the curator of East Asian Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum since 2002. Dr. Sung received a B.A. in foreign languages and literature and an M.A. in Chinese history, both from the National Taiwan University. She also earned a Ph.D. in museum studies from Case Western Reserve University. Prior to coming to Cincinnati, Dr. Sung served as research associate at the Cleveland Museum of Art and a variety of research and teaching positions in museum and academic fields in Asia and throughout the United States, including the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan; John Carroll University; Colorado College; Cleveland State University; and Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Sung has organized over ten special exhibitions, including Dressed to Kill: Japanese Arms and Armor and Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China. She has nearly sixty publications, including her recent books Decoded Messages: The Symbolic Language of Chinese Animal Painting and Masterpieces of Japan at the Cincinnati Art Museum.