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Ancient Art from the Shumei Family Collection

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Ancient Art from the Shumei Family Collection
Texts by Dorothea Arnold, Joan Aruz, Kim Benzel, Virginia Bower, Stefano Carboni, Heather Colburn, Rikke Foulke, Prudence O. Harper, Trudy S. Kawami and others

4to. pp. xii, 210. colour & b/w illustrations. bibliography. index. paperback (fine condition). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, [1996].

Published in conjunction with an exhibition.

ISBN-10: 0870997742 / ISBN 13: 9780870997747


The Shumei Family, a religious organization based in Japan, believes that "Unless you make others happy, you can never be happy yourself." To this end they have collected art for the past 40 years. On the advice of I.M. Pei, the architect hired to design a museum for their holdings, they expanded their collection from primarily Japanese works to other areas of ancient art. This catalog presents the non-Japanese part of the collection, which is on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this year. With only two Egyptian and two Roman pieces, the bulk of the small, elegant collection is from central and eastern Asia. However, as Spencer Tracy once said of Katharine Hepburn, "What's there is cherce." The silver and gold Egyptian cult statue is unique, for example, and every item was very carefully selected to fit the collection in a manner reminiscent of ikebana flower arrangement. Technically, the color plates are sharp and beautiful, and the scholarship is impressive.