Portland has a long history of trade and cultural interchange with East Asia, and this engagement is reflected in the Portland Art Museum’s Asian art collection. The origins of the collection can be traced to work donated by some of the Museum’s founding trustees. The collection has grown steadily, especially in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean artworks, the majority of which have been gifts from Portland individuals and families. Exhibited on the main floor of the Main Building, the Asian art collection today totals nearly 4,000 objects.
Since 1932, when the Museum received the gift of the Mary Andrews Ladd collection of nearly 800 Japanese prints, the institution has been renowned for the depth and breadth of its holdings in this ever–popular medium. Subsequent gifts have expanded the Japanese print collection to more than 1,800 examples and broadened its range to include contemporary art. The Museum’s Japanese collection is also rich in painting and decorative arts of the Edo (1615–1868) and Meiji (1868–1912) periods.