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Yale University Art Gallery

Attributed to Kaihō Yūshō, Pair of Screens with Dragons and Waves, Japan, Momoyama period (1573–1615), ca. 1600–1615. Ink on paper. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Rosemarie and Leighton R. Longhi, B.A. 1967

Year of the Dragon

March 15 – November 10, 2024

This exhibition celebrates 2024, the Year of the Dragon, with a presentation of nearly 30 artworks spanning from the 17th century to the present day. In the West, the dragon has historically been characterized as an evil creature, flying through the air while breathing fire from its mouth, but in the East, the dragon is believed to possess power in the celestial realm and to pour out blessings in the form of rainwater over swirling wind. The dragon also has a place in the Eastern zodiac calendar—alongside 11 other animals, such as the rabbit, snake, and tiger—in which each year is associated with an animal and its reputed attributes. The objects on view, which are largely drawn from the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, feature dragons on folding screens, other paintings, textiles, ceramics, ivory, and woodblock prints. Taking inspiration from East Asian history, folklore, and myth, these works demonstrate a long, complex, and continuing artistic tradition around this fantastical creature.

Also be sure to catch a rare opportunity to view one of our most recognizable works while it’s on view in this exhibition. Katsushika Hokusai’s well-known woodblock print The Great Wave, along with other light-sensitive works, will only be displayed for the first installment of the show, through July 7. A new selection will be on view through November 10, offering repeat visitors another experience of the exhibition.

To learn more and watch a video of the exhibit, click here.


Installation view, Sight and Sound in Chinese Painting

Now on View in the Asian Art Galleries

Be sure to view these thematic installations on view in the second-floor Asian art galleries.

Sight and Sound in Chinese Painting focuses on artistic representations that illustrate the importance of music in Chinese culture. The engrossing visual world depicted in many Chinese paintings often contains references to sound, whether music, singing, or leaves rustling in the wind. Artistic representations of instruments like the zither (qin) and the flute (changdi) illustrate the perennial importance of music in Chinese culture, long valued as a ritual and court activity as well as a means of personal expression and self-cultivation.

Also on display is Performance and Court in Indonesia, which situates Indonesian shadow puppets within the wider courtly context. They include a Chinese-Indonesian glove-puppet stage, a sculpture of a goddess and her consort commissioned to bless an aristocratic wedding, and various pieces of gold jewelry and ceremonial textiles. At the center of the installation is a screen with an array of shadow puppets (wayang kulit) that were used in Java to perform scenes from the Mahabharata, an Indian epic. A puppeteer would have staged all-night renditions of the tales while accompanied by a gamelan, a traditional Indonesian percussion orchestra.


Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858), Kanazawa in Moonlight, from the series Eight Views of Musashi Province (Buyō Kanazawa Hasshō Yakei), 7th month, 1857, Ukiyo-e: polychrome woodblock print, triptych, Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore

About the Asian Art Galleries

The Asian art collection of nearly 8,000 works—from East Asia, South Asia, continental Southeast Asia, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey—spans the Neolithic period to the 21st century.

The Gallery’s Chinese and Japanese collections were built initially through the gifts and bequest of Mrs. William H. Moore between 1937 and 1960. The greatest strengths of the Chinese holdings are ceramics and paintings, including a group of vessels from the Changsha region of Hunan Province, from around 500 B.C.E. to 1000 C.E., assembled for the most part by John Hadley Cox, B.A. 1935. Chinese paintings range from the Tang dynasty (618–907 C.E.) through the 20th century, with particular strengths in the 17th century and in the modern and contemporary period.

The Japanese collection has important concentrations in the arts of the Edo period (1615–1868). Approximately 1,200 prints, the majority of which are ukiyo-e prints of the 18th and 19th centuries, demonstrate the breadth of this medium, and recent additions have included a group of 20th-century prints. Several important screens and hanging scrolls of the 14th through 18th century highlight the department’s holdings of Japanese painting and calligraphy, while Japanese textiles are represented by fragments from the Shōsōin repository in Nara, Noh robes, kimonos, and a collection of Buddhist priests’ robes. Japanese ceramics, a growing area of the collection, span from the Neolithic period to the presend day, with important recent additions of contemporary ceramic sculpture.

The South Asian and Islamic collections, again founded by the gifts of Mrs. Moore, are represented by an excellent group of textiles, ceramics, miniature paintings, and manuscript pages. Gifts of over 80 Persian and Indian miniature paintings, and others of Indian sculpture, have greatly augmented the holdings of Iranian and Indian art.

To view highlights in the collection, click here.