Arts and Culture
Despite hosting the world’s largest Japanese-descent population out of Japan, Brazil has not a single art museum specialized in Japanese or Asian art. There are not even galleries or small private foundations specialized in the field. In this paper we will introduce two cases of collecting and exhibiting Asian art in Brazil as case examples for a departure in a further need to study this subject.
Ema Klabin was an art lover lady, and her Oriental Collection compounds part of the pieces displayed in a museum that was originally her home, located in the city of São Paulo. The display of the objects reveals certain feminine sensibility as well as an intimate connection with the architecture of the house where she lived until 1994. Most of the Asian artefacts are from Chinese precedence (162 pieces) and the Japanese ones are in small number, only 30 pieces, including paintings, ukiyo-e prints, okimono, netsuke and sculptures.
In 2008, when there were many celebrations for the hundredth anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil, two exhibitions of Japanese prints were organized, in Rio de Janeiro and in São Paulo. The João Maurício de Araújo Pinho Collection comprehends ukiyo-e, shin-hanga and sōsaku hanga; the Moreira Salles Institute is specialized only on ukiyo-e. The curatorial experience of the two collections was quite an enterprise as data was missing in every aspect. The tasks of classification, description, historical sources were no small challenge. Both collections are private and are very seldom opened for visitation.