Tigers, Cranes, Beautiful Women
Asian Art from the Klaus F. Naumann Collection

08.10.2015 to 10.01.2016
Museum für Asiatische Kunst

In the Far East cranes symbolize long life, tigers courage and endurance, and, much as in the West, no depiction of a glamorous event is quite complete if it doesn't include beautiful women. These are all motifs that appear as central images on large-scale folding screens (measuring approx. 1.50 x 7.00 m), which are going on public display for the first time in this special exhibition. These screens are part of a new acquisition of artworks from the private collection of the well-known, Berlin-born collector Klaus F. Naumann, which the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz managed to acquire for the Museum für Asiatische Kunst in 2014 with generous support from the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation and the Kulturstiftung der Länder (Germany's equivalent of the Arts Council) and which are now being premiered in Berlin.

Targetted acquisitions have been made with a firm eye on the future collection display of East Asian and particularly Japanese art in the Humboldt-Forum (currently under construction). The aim is to enhance the Berlin collection's reputation by further focusing on East Asian lacquerware, monochrome landscape painting, and decorative pictorial works. The collection has been further enriched by delicate, polychrome and blue-and-white Japanese ceramic objects originally intended for use by the ruling classes of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as paintings that exemplify the Maruyama-Shijo School that originated in Kyoto in the latter half of the 18th century and which, inspired by Western art, strove to attain a more naturalistic rendering of materiality.

The exhibition, which combines these new acquisitions with works from the Naumann collection in the previous 2009 accession, is on show in seven galleries of the East Asian Art Department and presents a survey of developments in Japanese art from the 15th to the 20th century, on a scale long unseen in Berlin. Once the temporary display is over, visitors will only have the opportunity to enjoy such a diverse collection of Japanese art again when the Humboldt-Forum opens at the end of the decade.

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Interview: "Die ungeheure Schönheit der japanischen Kunst"