Vanderpoel Gallery of Asian Art
In 1935, Slater Memorial Museum director Hannah Dodge pursued New York collector Emily Noyes Vanderpoel in hopes of acquiring the donation of Mrs. Vanderpoel’s extensive collection of East Asian art and artifacts. The success of that acquisition led other donors in the succeeding 85 years to add to the collection. It includes Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian, and Chinese objects. Materials and techniques include ceramics, ivories, silk textiles, fans, woodblock prints, and metalwork.
The first display of the objects was installed shortly after Mrs. Vanderpoel made her donation. The gallery was refreshed in 2011 when the Atrium was completed and the entire museum was re-installed and re-interpreted. Even then, museum staff realized that the research was lacking and that the objects had even more exciting stories to tell.
An example is the collection of Japanese Netsuke, a unique form of purse closure. These skillfully carved miniatures embody Japanese folk tales and parables in delightful caricatures, now on display and interpreted for the first time ever in the museum.
Also newly-displayed is a replica terra cotta Qin Shi Warrior. Thousands of remarkable figures were discovered in China during the 1970s and the site has been undergoing excavation for decades. Further study found that, like ancient Greek statuary, the ceramic warriors had been polychromed. The replica within the gallery has been painted based upon a traditional color scheme that other warriors could have featured.