Press Release  October 30, 2018

Princeton University Art Museum Brings Renowned Asian Art Collection Online

Princeton University Art Museum, Photo Bruce M. White.

Hon'ami Kōetsu 本阿弥 光悦 (1558 - 1637), Japan, Selections from the New Collection of Japanese Poems from Ancient and Modern Times (Shinkokin wakashū) with Printed Designs of Plants and Animals, before 1615. Handscroll; ink and mica on colored paper.

Princeton University Art Museum. Photo Bruce M. White.

 Anonymous, Punjab Hills, India, Ferocious Falcon, late 18th century. Opaque watercolor on paper.

PRINCETON, N.J. – A dynamic new look at the world-renowned Asian art collection at the Princeton University Art Museum has been made possible through a $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The two-year project, which began in 2016, is a part of the Museum’s ongoing Collections Discovery Initiative and was designed to ensure that Princeton’s Asian art collection–widely considered among the premier collections of Asian art in the United States–can be shared with the broadest possible audiences, especially with scholars and researchers.

The grant allowed the Museum to restructure its award-winning Asian art microsite into an in-depth sustainable resource with dynamic object information, 3D imagery and close-looking features. The project also enhanced and standardized the cataloguing of a percentage of its Asian art holdings. Over 1,500 works of art from the Asian collection have been contributed to the ARTstor digital library.

“Thanks to funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Princeton University Art Museum has at last been able to expand access to and promote the study of our collections, and particularly holdings as important as our Asian collection,” noted James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, director. “Making every object in our care more accessible to all is an essential Museum priority.”

Princeton University Art Museum. Photo Bruce M. White.

Zhao Mengfu 趙孟頫, (1254–1322), China, The Mind Landscape of Xie Youyu (You yu qiu he), ca. 1287. Handscroll; ink and color on silk.

“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information and new ideas in the arts, sciences and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

The Princeton University Art Museum began collecting Asian art in the 1880s, and its Asian art holdings are renowned worldwide for their range, rarity and quality. Among the many highlights are Chinese paintings and calligraphy that rank among the finest outside Asia; Japanese Neolithic ceramics; and works from Korea, India, Southeast Asia and Central Asia.

Princeton University Art Museum. Photo Bruce M. White.

Chinese, mid-Warring States period to early Western Han dynasty, ca. 470–221 B.C., Sword-bearer lamp, 4th–2nd century B.C. Bronze with cast and engraved designs.

From 2010 to 2015 the Museum conducted a collections-wide inventory, through which it created digital images for every object in its collections. In 2015 the Museum launched its five-year Collections Discovery Initiative to create open access to the scholarly documentation of its collections through continued cataloguing, conversion of data from analog to digital, publishing of linked open data and the development of dynamic search and knowledge contribution tools.

About the Princeton University Art Museum
With a collecting history that extends back to 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, with collections that have grown to include over 100,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe.

Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. Intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, the Museum offers a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

The Princeton University Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.

About IMLS
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that in turn make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

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