Have you ever walked through a museum and wondered where the artwork and artifacts on display came from? Curators usually source artwork from museums, auction houses and dealers. But often what you see are pieces loaned by individuals from their personal collections.
One of the most prominent individual collectors is John C. Weber, who started collecting as a young man after purchasing a handful of Rembrandt etchings. Now, he’s considered to have one of the finest collections of traditional Asian Japanese art.
Several of his pieces are featured at Asia Society Museum’s new exhibition, The Art of Impermanence: Japanese Works from the John C. Weber Collection and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, on view now through April 26 at Asia Society New York. The exhibition features more than sixty masterpieces of calligraphy, painting, sculpture, and textiles drawn from Weber’s personal collection and Asia Society’s Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection.
In this episode, Adriana Proser, the John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art at Asia Society Museum, sits down with Weber to discuss his life as a collector, and the people and experiences that shaped his prolific collection.
Asian Traditions and Culture
- Buddhism: While there are as as many religions in Asia as there are anywhere else, Buddhism is one of the predominant ones. Buddhism was established in northern India about 2500 years ago in response to the life and teachings of Gautama Siddhartha who was given the title “Buddha” or “awakened-one.”
- Dim Sum: A traditional Chinese meal that consists of lots of small dishes of a bunch of different kinds of foods, including steamed or fried dumplings.
- Tea: Tea plays a major role in Asian culture – whether it’s in China, India or Malaysia – tea ceremonies, in their various forms, are a major part of most Asian cultures.
- Origami: Origami is the art of folding paper. While it is quite popular in Japan, it is believed to have originated in China in the first century AD. One of the most popular origami shapes is the crane. The crane is thought to be a sacred animal in Japan and legend has it that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will come true.