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Chinese Collection

Chinese Collection

Nearly 5,000 works were donated to the museum, from the collections Henri Cernuschi brought back from his travels to China and Japan between 1871 and 1873. Under the direction of its first curator, Henri d’Ardenne de Tizac (1877-1932), the museum confirmed its identity as a Chinese art museum. Beginning in 1905, Mr. d’Ardenne de Tizac, assisted by the wise French sinologists Edouard Chavannes (1865-1918) and later Paul Pelliot (1878-1945), participated in the discovery and diffusion of ancient Chinese art and organised thematic exhibits. While China was only beginning to take its first steps in the field of archaeology, he acquired a bronze centrepiece from the Shang Period: “The Tigress”, as well as numerous gifts from collectors and antiquarians, such as the Bodhisattva of the Yungang Grottoes, donated by Léon Wannieck in 1922. Collections of contemporary Chinese art, including a unique collection of paintings donated by Doctor Guo Youshou (1900-1978) in 1953 with works by Sanyu (1901-1966) and Xu Beihong (1895-1953), were later added to these gifts and acquisitions of bronzes, funerary furniture, terra cotta and jades. Thanks to the generosity of the city of Paris and the Society of Friends of the Cernuschi Museum, the museum was recently enriched through remarkable acquisitions, such as a collection of Changsha ceramics in 1976 from the Mu Fei collection. The museum continues to expand its collections, ranging from ancient to contemporary art: the former is especially well represented by the two gold plated funerary sets (donated by Agnès and Christian Deydier, and Yves and Lotus Mahé, 2001), and the latter by the paintings of Wu Guanzhong (born in 1919) and Zhu Dejun (born in 1920), donated by the artists in 1993.