This collection encompasses some 400 works, principally from the Indian subcontinent, ranging from the 2nd through to the 19th century.
While the Gallery acquired representative examples of historic Asian art beginning in the early 20th century, its holdings were transformed thanks to the generous gift of Max Tanenbaum, who donated part of the collection of the late Nasli Heeramaneck in 1980. The Gallery also actively collects contemporary art from across Asia.
Sculpture from India is represented in both stone and bronze from a wide range of schools; and Nepal and Tibet through small bronzes. Manuscript and scroll paintings come from India, Nepal and Tibet, and include both secular subjects and devotional aids; these works date from the 15th through to the 19th century. A group of largely 18th-century drawings from China – both scrolls and album leaves – are also held by the Gallery.
Together, this material captures something of the richness and complexity of these diverse artistic traditions. In order to preserve them, these drawings and paintings are not on continual display, but can be viewed by appointment in our Prints, Drawings and Photographs Study Room.
An introduction to part of this collection can be found in Pratapaditya Pal’s Divine Images, Human Visions: The Max Tanenbaum Collection of South Asian and Himalayan Art, published by the Gallery in 1997.
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