The Chinese art collection is one of the finest collections in the West with more than 7,000 works from every phase of China’s artistic activity.
Ancient Chinese bronzes and jades include celebrated pieces such as a hu wine vessel of the Shang Dynasty (16th century—1046 B.C.E) and a ritual jade disc of the 3rd century B.C.E.
The collection of Chinese paintings is one of the most important outside Asia, particularly in the 10th through 13th centuries, and includes masterworks such as Xu Daoning’s Fisherman’s Evening Song, and Li Cheng’s A Solitary Temple Amid Clearing Peaks.
Buddhist sculpture and wall paintings range from the 5th to 18th centuries. A jewel of the museum is the Chinese Temple Gallery (Gallery 230), which displays a 12th-century polychrome wooden figure of Guanyin of the Southern Sea, heralded as the finest sculpture of its kind outside China.
The museum was a pioneer in the collecting of Chinese furniture and is famed for its Ming (1368–1644) and early Qing (1644–1911) hardwood furniture. The ceramics collection includes tomb sculptures, stonewares and porcelains that chronicle the great epochs of Chinese ceramic innovations. The collection also includes more than 500 silk textiles dating from the 2nd century B.C.E. to the 20th century.