Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives

East Asian Art Department Records Edit




  • 1991-2002 (Creation)


  • 22.5 linear feet (Whole)

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  • Abstract

    None available.

  • Processing Information

    These materials were arranged and described by Bertha Adams, Leslie O'Neill and Susan Anderson. Funded by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services and National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

  • Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research. Access to institutional records less than 10 years old is at the discretion of the Archivist.

  • Use Restrictions

    The East Asian Art Department Records are the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Item identification and date], [Series info.], East Asian Department Records, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives.

  • Separated Material

    These records have been designated as a separate manuscript collection. Louise Lux-Sions Records of "The Unsullied Dynasty and the K'ang-his Emperor."

  • Related Material

    Philadelphia Musum of Art, Archives. Far Eastern Art Department Records.

  • Historical Note

    The Museum's first, formal recognition of Asian art came in 1900 when it established a Department of Oriental Pottery, with Mrs. Jones Wister serving as honorary curator. At that time all other specificed departments,which consisted of numismatics, Euorpean porcelain, arms and armor, and musical instruments also operated under the auspices of honorary curators with Dalton Dorr serving as the Museum's sole curator. The Museum began appointing curators to its different areas of study and collecting in 1923. Having come to the Museum as an assistant two years earlier, Horace H. F. Jayne received the 1923 appointment of Curator of Oriental Art. (Paintings, lace and old Pennsylvania pottery were the other curatorial positions.)

    Over the next 70 years, the department's title changed, and its purview at certain periods included not only Chinese and Japanese objects, but Indian and Persian as well. In 1992, the department took on its current designation of "East Asian Art," with Felice Fischer serving as the Associate Curator. Ms. Fischer came to the Museum as a curatorial assistant in 1972 when the department was designated Far Eastern Art. In 1997 an endowment allowed the Museum to name Ms. Fischer as the Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Curator of East Asian Art, a position she continues to hold. Other curatorial positions within the department concentrate on Chinese and Korean art.

  • Scope and Content Note

    A portion of the records documenting the activities of this department consist of correspondence and a set of files identified as "Institutional Literature." Both groups were maintained in alphabetical order and pertain to the years of 1991 to 1995. The earliest material, from 1991, was compiled when the department operated as the Far Eastern Art. Most of the material, nearly 8 linear feet, documents a seminal exhibition that opened in 1994 and presented modern Japanese design to audiences in America, Europe and Osaka, Japan. Entitled "Japanese design: a survey since 1950," the exhibition featured more than 250 objects such as furniture, housewares, electronics, packaging and clothing to demonstrate Japan's contribution to modern design. The exhibition later traveled to Milan, Dusseldorf, Paris and Osaka. Curators Felice Fischer of East Asian Art and Kathryn Bloom Hiesinger of European Decorative Arts after 1700 produced the exhibition, and the architect and theorist Dr. Kisho Kurokawa designed its installation. An index resides with the files, which are arranged alphabetically.

    For earlier records of the department, created prior to its designation as "East Asian Art," see the Far Eastern Art Department Records. For additional records of the 1994 "Japanese design" exhibition, see European Decorative Arts after 1700 Department Records.