With more than 3,500 works, the Harn’s Asian art collection spans from the Neolithic period through cutting-edge contemporary art. It covers a vast geographic distribution, from central Asia in the west to Japan in the east, and from China in the north to the southernmost points of India and Southeast Asia. The strengths of the collection are evident in ceramics, jades, and metal works and are further augmented by stone sculptures, paintings, and prints. The variety and quality of the works provide the opportunity to explore regional and transnational trends in Asian art, ranging from ceramic traditions to the spread of Buddhism to the relationships between Asia and the West via artistic visions and creations.
More about the Asian Collection
The Asian collection at the Harn Museum of Art is among the largest and finest in the southeastern United States. Comprised of more than 3,500 objects, the collection ranges in date from approximately 2500 B.C. to the present and includes paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, bronzes, jades, and lacquers from across Asia. The collection is organized into sub-collections by geography.
The Harn’s Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian collection is a particular strength, with a diverse group of Hindu and Buddhist religious sculptures, fine Indian miniature paintings, and more than 100 Thai, Vietnamese and Cambodian trade ceramics from the 15th to the 17th centuries. The collection also includes modern Indian paintings by Jamini Roy (1887 – 1972) and Ram Kumar (b. 1924).
In Chinese art, the Harn holds a significant collection of ceramics from the Neolithic to the end of the Imperial era in 1911, and a rich array of Chinese paintings, with works by renowned artists such as Shen Quan (1682–1760) and Sheng Maoye (c. 1580–1640).
The collection also includes several complete series of Japanese woodblock prints by artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) and Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1865), along with scroll paintings by Kano Korenobu (1753–1808) and Yokoi Kinkoku (1761–1832). Japanese decorative arts of the Meiji Period (1868–1912) are also well represented by ceramics, bronzes, cloisonné enamels and lacquers.
The Harn’s Korean holdings are anchored by a group of Koryo celadon ceramics (918–1392) and Choson blue-and-white porcelains (1392–1910) donated by Gen. James A. Van Fleet, one of the most generous donors to the Asian collection.
- An exceptionally rare gilt wood Bodhisattva from 17th-century Korea.
- Seated Woman in Sari, a water color by Jamini Roy (1887-1972), recognized one of the leaders of the modern art movement in India. With more than 40 works by Roy, the Harn’s collection of his work is among the largest outside of India.
- A 10th-century Indian sculpture, Shiva with his Consort Uma, made of cream sandstone.
- A Meiji-period Japanese ceramic vase by the master Miyagawa Kozan (1842–1916), decorated with an unusual carved design of dragons amid waves.
- An imperial-quality offering dish from Qing Dynasty China. This gilt bronze and cloisonné dish is a fine example of the rich metalworking tradition of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Monochromatic ceramics from the Song, Yuan and early Ming dynasties (10th–15th centuries).
- A rare 11th or 12th century Buddhist stupa tower, which originally resided in a temple courtyard.
History of the Collection
The Asian collection has been a strength of the museum since its founding. Notable donors include Florida professor Roy C. Craven, who gave a number of important works in the 1960s and 70s, and General James A. Van Fleet, who contributed greatly to the Harn’s collection of Korean works. On March 31, 2012, the museum will open the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing. Planned for the northwest side of the museum near the corner of Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road, the 26,000-square-foot addition will have three levels featuring 6,000 square feet of Asian art gallery space, an upper level for curatorial and museum activities, as well as art storage and conservation space for the Asian collections. An Asian garden will be accessible from the west side of the new wing. The commitment to fund the Asian art wing is one of many transformative gifts the Cofrin family has made to the University of Florida and the Harn Museum of Art.