Skip to Main Content

Japanese Painting and Sculpture from the Sixth Century A.D. to the Nineteenth Century

January 25 – February 25, 1953
Ground Floor, Central Gallery, Galleries G-8 through G-15

Installation view of Japanese Painting and Sculpture from the Sixth Century A.D. to the Nineteenth Century, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gallery Archives

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: The exhibition consisted of 77 paintings and 14 sculptures dating from the 6th to the 19th century. It came from the Commission for Protection of Cultural Properties of the Government of Japan in Tokyo. Included were early Buddhist paintings as well as gilt-bronze, wood, and lacquer sculpture, screens, scrolls, and illustrated books lent by 6 museums, 2 cities, 27 Buddhist monasteries, a Shinto shrine, 21 private collectors, and the emperor of Japan. 18 paintings were registered by the Japanese government as National Treasures, while 45 paintings and 6 sculptures were classified as Important Cultural Properties. 3 paintings were allowed to be exhibited for one week only at each museum. 6 Japanese curators and technicians accompanied the exhibition during its tour.

Special installations were prepared under the direction of Perry B. Cott using 8 glass vitrines for scrolls and books borrowed from the Freer Gallery of Art, 6 long table cases from the Metropolitan Museum, and 4 single sloping vitrines from the Library of Congress. Orchids on loan from the greenhouses at Dumbarton Oaks aroused great interest.

President and Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower visited for an hour on the first Sunday morning.

Attendance: 187,460

Catalog: Exhibition of Japanese Painting and Sculpture, Sponsored by the Government of Japan. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1953.

Other Venues: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March 26–May 10, 1953
Seattle Art Museum, July 9–August 9, 1953
Art Institute of Chicago, September 15–October 15, 1953
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, November 15–November 17, 1953