Skip to main content


The collection Japan is currently not on display.

The hidden treasure

The collection of Japanese prints held at the Museum is a veritable jewel in Japan’s heritage. It was rescued from obscurity during the 1970s and since than has won general international fame, thanks to the exceptionally good state of the prints and the extreme rarity of some of them. Today, the collection numbers some 7 500 by 362 different well-known and less-well-known artists, and a further 300 by unknown artists. For specialists, it is an important source for research; for buffs, the object of wonder. 

Japanese print with a wave
On the hollow of a wave off the coast at Kanagawa, Katsushika Hokusai, 1830-32, Japan, paper

Heian & Edo

This collection contains several examples of early ceramics and Buddhist art from the Heian period. From the Edo period (1600-1868) we mostly have traditional pieces of art like roll-paintings, folding screens, kimonos, porcelain, weapons, armature and sword ornaments, laque, inro (small traditional Japanese boxes) and netsuke (button-like toggles).

Netsuke Daruma stretching and yawning
Netsuke, Edo period, Japan, wood

Export art

The museum also houses an extraordinary collection of Japanese export art with Imari porcelain from the 17th and 18th century and objects that were produced for the World Fairs at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century: laque, cloisonné, ivory sculptures, wickerwork and porcelain.

Large vase with carp decoration
Large vase with carp decoration, 1900-1905, Japan, cloisonné

Nathalie Vandeperre