The Japanese collections at the Oriental Museum have expanded considerably in recent years.
Works date mostly from the Edo (1615-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods, but with some objects from earlier periods such as the Muromachi (1336-1573) and Momoyama (1573-1615). Increasingly, curators have also sought to collect 20th and 21st century material.
Highlights include fine examples of swords and armour, beautiful embroidered silk kimono and exquisitely carved netsuke, as well as ceramics from the 17th and 18th centuries. The ceramic collection has been significantly enhanced since 2015, thanks to the donation of a major collection of primarily 19th and 20th century porcelain by David and Anne Hyatt-King.
Another area of strength is our collection of Edo Period woodblock prints of actors, courtesans, and landscapes, by renowned artists such as Hiroshige (1797-1858) and Hokusai (1760-1849). The Museum also has a significant number of prints by the leading Meiji Period artist Chikanobu (1838-1912) and, in recent years, has purchased works by contemporary print makers including Hideo Takeda, Nana Shiomi and Masami Teraoka.
In 2019, the print collection more than doubled in size thanks to a significant donation of almost 600 woodblock prints and postcards, gifted to the Museum by Durham University alumni John P. Scott.
In recent years, the Museum has made a significant effort to increase the amount of contemporary material held in the Japanese collections. With the support of Art Fund. Renew funding, we have been able to add contemporary ceramics, lacquer, digital born art, manga, cosplay and street fashion to the collections, including a pink Hello Kitty electric guitar.