Harvard Art Museums Korean Collection

The Korean collection at the Harvard Art Museums numbers more than 700 objects ranging from Silla-kingdom pottery to works by modern and contemporary artists, including Do Ho Suh (2019.121), as well as over 700 ceramic sherds. Rare masterpieces include the exquisite Water-moon Avalokiteshvara painting (1943.57.12), one of the largest extant works of this genre, and the gilt bronze portable Buddhist shrine (1943.53.71), both dating to the 14th century and part of a substantial bequest of art from Europe, the Americas, and Asia from Harvard alum Grenville L. Winthrop. Among the strengths of the museums’ collection are high-fired grey stoneware from the Three Kingdoms period (37 BCE-668 CE), the famed celadon from the Koryŏ period (918-1392), and literati ink paintings from the mid- to late-Chosŏn period (1392–1910). The Korean collection expanded considerably in the 1990s and early 2000s with purchases of important Chosŏn paintings and the addition of major holdings of ceramics from the Gregory and Maria C. Henderson collection. The Harvard Art Museums have arguably the premier collection of Korean art among universities in the U.S. and one of top notable Korean holding at North America institutions. Inquiries about the collection can be directed to Yan Yang, Cunninghamg Curatorial Assistant for the Collection in the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art, at yan_yang@harvard.edu.