The ‘China’ collection, arranged thematically, gives a pretty comprehensive picture of the various disciplines of Chinese art: ceramics, jade, bronze, wood sculpture, wall painting, costumes, painting, calligraphy, furniture and decorative art.
Small showcases house burial finds of jade, bronze and ceramics, as well as incised oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty, which present the first examples of Chinese writing. The oldest ceramic objects are funerary and were used in daily life during the Han and Tang Dynasties. They depict farms, wells, grain silos, poultry and ox-carts, as well as lady-companions making music, these last reflecting the sophistication of life at the Tang court. Statuettes of camels and foreign travellers are a reminder of the trade relations on the Silk Route.
A high point in the flowering of Chinese ceramic art are the graceful vases from the Song Dynasty, with their subtle glazes.
A Chinese recess bed and the beautifully woven and embroidered costumes demonstrate the refinement of life in China during the 18th and 19th centuries. Lastly is the gallery devoted to roll paintings and calligraphic art, which provides a survey of these pre-eminent art disciplines of China.
At the Chinese Pavilion, a part of the Museums of the Far East, is a feast of Chinese export porcelain in all its variety.