There are close to 4,000 Japanese artworks at the Cleveland Museum of Art, including archaeological objects, calligraphies, ceramics, paintings, and sculptures recognized by scholars around the world as important examples in those categories. There are also significant pieces in other media, such as lacquers and woodblock prints. Some 3,000 of the Japanese artworks are kept in the Japanese art collection.
Kimono, theater costumes, religious garments, and textile fragments are kept in both the Japanese art and the textiles collections. Likewise, modern, and contemporary Japanese art can also be found in the contemporary art, and prints collections. Photographs by Japanese photographers are all housed in the photography collection.
Displays of Japanese art rotate twice a year in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Japanese Art Galleries (galleries 235A–B) with the dual goals of presenting a historical overview of the country’s visual culture and focused explorations of different themes.
Since many works of Japanese art are structurally fragile and sensitive to light exposure, they cannot remain on view for long periods of time. Specialists in the museum’s conservation studios play a crucial role in keeping the collection in good condition for present and future generations.