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

Wine Vessel, Fangyi

China, 1948.75

Handscroll: Sima Caizhong’s Dream of the Courtesan, Su Xiaoxiao

Liu Yüan, 1948.79

Buddhist Relief

Gummadidurru/India, 1952.187

Presentation of a Prince

Chiyo Mitsuhisa, 1982.6

Illustration of Hell

Japan, 1987.1

The Elephant Hunt of Maharaja Anup Singh of Bikaner

Bikaner/Rajasthan/India, 1979.129

Dr. Hou-mei Sung has served as Curator of Asian Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum since 2002. She received both her B.A. and M.A. from the National Taiwan University and her 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 held a variety of research and teaching positions in Asia and the United States, including the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan; Colorado College; Cleveland State University; and Case Western Reserve University. Her research on Ming court painting received a Fulbright scholarship in 2000. Dr. Sung has 49 publications, including her recent books, Decoded Messages: The Symbolic Language of Chinese Animal Painting (Yale University Press, 2009) and Masterpieces of Japanese Art of the Cincinnati Art Museum (Giles, 2014).