Far East

The collections in this sector offer to the visitor an exceptional view upon creativity and different cultures in this region from prehistory to 20th century.
The prehistoric and protohistoric cultures of Japanese archipelago during the late Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun periods ( half of 3rd millennium BC – 5th century AD ) are represented by archaeological finds coming from an exchange with the Tokyo National Museum. From another exchange, this time with the National Museum in Seoul, come the stoneware vases with different kinds of ferruginous ceramic glaze, the kind called céladon in Western countries, representing the best production of Korean kilns between 12th and 15th-16th century (Koryo and Choson dynasties). The collection donated by the ambassador Giacinto to the Italian Institute for Africa and the East is important as well: it is made up of bronze statuettes with Buddhist themes dating back from 5th to 14th century AD, bronze mirrors from 4th century BC to 14th century AD and of other precious bronze artefacts from different ages and with different purposes, coming from China, Korea and Japan.
Truly remarkable, for its rarity and typological representativeness, is the collection of Chinese bronzes ( ritual vases, arms and harness ) dating back between 13th and 8th century BC, purchased on the Italian antiquarian market in 1986. We would also like to remind you some examples of the most ancient Chinese Buddhist statuary ( wood and stone works ), belonging to the Banca d’Italia which generously offered them to the public thanks to a permanent loan to the Museum; the rare Chinese vases of glazed stoneware ( 2nd century BC – 5th-6th century AD ); the “ three colours “ enamelled funerary statuettes from the Tang age ( 618-907 ) and the Ming ( 1368-1644 ) and Qing ( 1644-1911 ) porcelains. Particularly varied is Antonia Gisondi’s donation of Chinese handiworks and art objects ( from about 5th century BC to 18th century AD ), which supplements the nucleus of ancient jades ( 11th century BC - 19th century AD ) previously donated by Mrs Gisondi herself and her husband, Mr Manlio Fiacchi.
The precious nucleus of very rare glazed ceramics, illustrating the potters’ art in Northern Vietnam between 11th and 16th centuries, is part of a wider bequest, consisting of South-East Asia masterpieces, made by the Italian diplomat Ivanoe Tullio Dinaro. As regards the highest form of art in the Far East, painting, the Museum holds Chinese, Korean and Japanese examples, in different styles and with varied subjects, dating back mainly to the 17th and 19th centuries. However more antique works, as well as more recent ones, are held too, e.g. two hanging scrolls in the classical Japanese style ( Yamato-e ) from 14th -15th century and two works of Korean contemporary art, donated to the Museum by the artists themselves.
We would like to indicate, finally, one of the richest Italian collection of 19th_century Japanese xylographic prints, mainly inspired by the Kabuki theatre, and a rare painting with religious subject made on goatskin ( 18th-19th century ) coming most likely from Inner Mongolia.

Roberto Ciarla