Across Asia: Arts of Asia and the Islamic World

Opens April 23, 2023
Level 4 Centre Street Building

The Walters Art Museum presents a landmark installation of its Asian and Islamic collections, offering new ways to examine and experience both Asian and Islamic art. For the first time at the Walters, visitors can view approximately 500 artworks from across the Asian continent together in a contiguous space, including art from Islamic cultures spanning West to South Asia. Across Asia: Arts of Asia and the Islamic World is the culmination of years of work by Walters curators to expand the connectivity of the Asian and Islamic art collections and will feature visitor favorites as well as works which have previously never been on view.

Themes that are both culturally specific and universal to the human experience, including devotional practice, consumable goods, the natural world, and innovation, are woven throughout the galleries.

Visitors will encounter historical examples of architecture, calligraphy, ceramics, cloisonné, lacquerware, manuscripts, metalwork, painting, sculpture, and textiles. The installation also includes a 19th-century Buddhist pulpit (thammat) from Thailand, one of the only known Thai pulpits in a U.S. museum.

The Walters collection of Asian art comprises about 9,000 objects and encompasses works spanning 2,000 years of artistic traditions from diverse cultures and regions, most notably Japan, Korea, China, India, Nepal, Tibet, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. The collection of Islamic art, comprising some 1,200 objects, is one of the richest in the United States with particular strengths in Persian, Turkish, and Mediterranean cultures, as well as Islamic South Asia. Visitors can continue to see other renowned works of art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in The John and Berthe Ford Gallery.

The installation is led by Adriana Proser, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Quincy Scott Curator of Asian Art; Dany Chan, Associate Curator of Asian Art; and Ashley Dimmig, Guest Curator and former Wieler-Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in Islamic Art. The book Across Borders: Movement and Mobility in the Arts of East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic World, edited by Proser, with essays by Chan, Dimmig, and Proser will be published in conjunction with the opening as the first in an innovative new series of Walters collection-focused publications.

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