The National Art Museum (Part 4)

Since its establishment in 1954, the Oriental Art Collection of the Museum has been steadily increased and consolidated around two main areas of interest: Islamic art, on the one hand, Chinese and Japanese art, on the other. It is the largest Oriental collection housed by a Romanian museum, and it consists of items from the royal collection, the Toma Stelian Museum, as well as gifts and acquisitions. Two distinguished collections, Dr. Ştefan Nicolau (1896-1967) and General Gheorghe Băgulescu (1896-1963) who once was Romania’s ambassador to Tokyo, contributed significantly to the growth of the present collection.

Guanyin amid Lotuses, jade, Qing Dynasty, 18th-19th c.

Over the last decade, Chinese modern works in the traditional style, recovered from the official residences of Nicolae Ceauşescu, have been added to the collection alongside recent luxury carpets presented to the Romanian dictator by the last Shah of Iran.

Scholars in a Pavilion, Qing Dynasty, 16th-17th c.

The Department of Oriental Art currently holds over 3,100 objects.
The permanent exhibition was closed due to ongoing renovation of the building, and will be redisplayed in newly refurbished areas in compliance with European standards of conservation. Meanwhile exhibitions of Oriental art are being enriched regularly.

Islamic Art
About 400 carpets covering a wide geographical area and spanning four centuries are at the core of the collection. The patrimony include tribal artifacts, Iranian and Ottoman silk carpets, seventeenth century Transylvanian carpets, providing a broad view of the development of this art in Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Iran. Textiles and embroideries, mostly from Turkey and Central Asia, are among the strong points of the collection.

Tent bag, Central Asia (Salor tribe), 19th. c.

Though less representative than the textile collection, the selection of Islamic ceramics from Iran and Turkey includes notable works such as fifteenth- to seventeenth-century bowls, as well as vases and plates dating from more recent times. The Islamic collection also features Safavid and Qajar metalwork, arms and amour pieces.

Ewer, Ottoman Turkey (Kütahya), 18th c.

Chinese and Japanese Art
The Chinese patrimony include about 150 paintings on silk and paper from the Ming and Qing dynasties, illustrating the traditional style of Chinese professional painters.

The selection of Japanese paintings, comprising roughly 200 pieces from the Momoyama period alongside a large group dating from the Edo period, highlights the development of the Tosa, Kano, Maruyama and Ukiyo-e schools. Paintings from the Meiji period and the first quarter of the twentieth century add to the wealth and diversity of the ensemble.

Courtesan and Attendant, Kitagawa Utamaro, early 19th c.

The department also holds a noteworthy collection of jade carvings and other semiprecious stone objects produced in China in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as similar Japanese pieces. Valuable patrimony of ceramics and porcelain, costumes and embroideries, metalwork, cloisonné and ivories, as well as wood, bronze and stone Buddhist sculptures complement the collection of Chinese art.

Covered vase and metallic mount, Edo period, 18th c.

The collection of Japanese decorative art features ivory carvings, ceramics and porcelain, arms and armor pieces, liturgical textiles, and metalwork in the Buddhist tradition. Several wood sculptures provide an insight into the Buddhist art dating back to the beginning of the Edo period.

(From MNAR)