The Cincinnati Art Museum’s Japanese art collection comprises over 3,000 objects, including paintings, screens, prints, ceramics, lacquer and metal wares, ivory carvings, arms and armor, dolls, masks, cloisonné, textiles, and costumes. Started in 1881, it is one of the oldest museum collections of Japanese art in the United States, and except for a few pieces, none of these objects has ever been catalogued or published before.
Masterpieces of Japanese Art is an introduction to this important yet little explored collection through nearly one hundred of its treasures. An essay by curator Hou-mei Sung chronicles the historical significance and the growth of the Museum’s collection in the context of Cincinnati’s local wave of Japanese mania in the nineteenth century and Cincinnati’s early connections and ongoing relationship with Japan and Japanese art. The Museum’s paintings and screens are the focus of two seminal essays by Japanese professors Masahiko Aizawa and Keiko Nakamachi.
Hou-mei Sung is curator of Asian Art, Prints, and Drawings at Cincinnati Art Museum.
Masahiko Aizawa is professor in the Department of Art History at Seijo University, Tokyo.
Keiko Nakamachi is professor in the Department of Aesthetics and Art History at Jissen Women’s University, Tokyo.