The BMA’s collection of Asian art includes more than 1,000 objects comprised of works from China, Japan, India, Tibet, Southeast Asia, and the Near East. Works are on view in rotating installations in the Museum’s Julius Levy Memorial Gallery, dedicated to BMA founder and original Board member Julius Levy, a prominent Baltimore businessman with strong interests in the Far East.
The strength of the collection resides in Chinese ceramics, with a particular depth in mortuary wares from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and utilitarian stonewares from the 11th through the 13th centuries. Notable works include the life-sized early 15th century bronze Guanyin, known widely as “Goddess of Mercy," which occupies a prominent place in the gallery; the robust figure of a horse from a Han dynasty tomb, its size an indication of the status of the deceased; a 39-piece mortuary retinue, a rare example of the quantities of clay figures that were placed in tombs during the early Tang dynasty; a utilitarian storage jar decorated with figural scenes drawn from popular Confucian and Daoist tales; and a outstanding foliate-shaped brush washer that represents in its composition and quality of decoration the mastery of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain.
Asian art is also represented in other areas of the BMA’s collection, including 475 Japanese prints and 1,000 textiles from across Asia.