One of the finest private holdings of Japanese art outside Japan, Dr. John C. Weber’s collection has been formed over the last decade, a period during which the bursting of the economic bubble has forced several private museums and collectors to part with some of their most treasured possessions. The largest loan of its kind ever shown at the MFA, “Arts of Japan: The John C. Weber Collection” will give Bostonians the chance to experience aspects of classic Japanese art not usually accessible to American museum-goers.
This exhibition of around eighty masterworks ranges in date from the early twelfth to the mid-twentieth century and encompasses paintings in both scroll and screen format, lacquers, textiles, and ceramics. In certain areas, notably paintings of beauties from the “Floating World” of the pleasure quarters, the Weber Collection overlaps with that of the MFA. In others, such as men’s and women’s garments, sacred and secular calligraphy, tea ceramics and lacquers from the years around 1600, and earlier red-lacquered vessels for use in Zen temples, the differences between Dr. Weber’s taste and that of the early Boston collectors is clearly apparent.