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Collection of Oriental Art

A new room in the Museum of Palazzo Poggi contains works of East Asian art from two different collections in Bologna, that are on long-term loan to the University of Bologna. A temporary exhibition will be held every four months with a selection of pieces on display. 

The Collection of Japanese woodblock prints from the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna was purchased in Florence by Carlo Contini (1919 - 2012), a doctor, writer and collector from Carpi, who acquired these works of art from the widow of Admiral Manzoni. The collection includes over 500 Japanese woodblock prints (many of which are diptychs and triptychs) assembled by Admiral Manzoni in the early 20th century during his frequent trips to Japan. After the death of Contini in 2012, the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna purchased the collection. 

The woodblock prints that make up this collection exemplify the technical expertise and creativity of some of the greatest Japanese artists of the 19th century, such as Hiroshige, Kunisada e Kuniyoshi. Of particular interest are the ornate prints from the Osaka theater, which were formerly unknown, and today attract both critical and public interest. In addition, it is worth noting the prints for children, that are fun and educational, as well as quite rare.

The Collection from the Far Eastern Art Study Centre comes from the cultural association of the same name, which was founded in Bologna in 1987 by the professor Giovanni Peternolli along with others who were passionate about East Asian art and wanted to promote appreciation and knowledge of this rich cultural and artistic heritage. The Centre’s Library, with its nearly 20.000 volumes, is one of a kind and the most comprehensive in Italy. The Collection and the Library are the result of continuous acquisition and generous donations.

The Collection currently consists of 160 Japanese woodblock prints and illustrated books, over 170 objects of various materials (bronze, lacquer, cloisonné, textiles etc.) mostly from the 19th -century Japan),along with 34 Chinese and Japanese paintings. Among the most precious examples is a large painting by Kanô Tanshin (1785 - 1835), four paintings by Watanabe Seitei (1851 - 1918), who was a very well-known artist in 19th-century France, and finally, several works by renowned Chinese contemporary artists such as Zhang Dali (1963 -) and Bo Yun (1948 -).