The museum holds a diverse collection of about one thousand paintings and calligraphic works from the countries of East Asia. Occasionally, unexpected treasures come to light in storage, as parts of the collection are still in need of research. This year the museum team started a project to carry out an inventory of the painting collection; the exhibition Art in Storage – Fascinating Discoveries from the Depot presents some of the treasures that were lifted in this connection.
The monumental Autumn Landscape at the beginning of the exhibition invites the viewer to enter the world of the Chinese literati. The famous painter Wen Zhengming (1470–1559) places the elegant scholar into the foreground facing the viewer with his back. The viewer follows the traveler into the pictorial space. Behind him there appears an unreal bird’s eye perspective of a rock cliff by a sweeping water fall, shrouded in mysterious mists. The execution of the wetin-wet painted rocks and vegetation, also the lines of the robed scholar are of outstanding quality. Hans-Jürgen von Lochow donated this painting to the MOK in 1965. Almost four meters high, it could never be fully viewed before the new museum building opened in 1977. Gradually the piece which shows traces of water damage in its mounting was forgotten. Extensive research will be necessary to fully prove the authenticity of the work. After that it will need
restoration and remounting.
Also, the three monumental hanging scrolls of the Japanese modernist painter, poet and calligrapher Uchiyama Ukai (1907–1983) were never shown before. The artist donated them to the city in 1965 after an exhibition held at the Kunsthaus Lempertz. The unusual format of the Cologne panorama appears as a huge handscroll projected on a wall. Uchiyama’s eccentric calligraphy corresponds with the gestural “One-character paintings” of the Japanese avantgarde artist Inoue Yuichi (1916–1985). In the early 1960’s these works were exhibited at the Rudolf Zwirner Gallery in Cologne. Abstract painting and the Informel of the 1950’s and 60’s had sparked an interest in ink painting and calligraphy. Western artists took inspiration from Japanese art and Zen
Uchiyama’s poem leads across to the famous pictures of the Buddha’s disciples by the monk painter Guan Xiu (832–912). In 1757, the Qianlong Emperor commissioned stone engravings of his series of the 16 Luohan paintings. The cinnabar rubbings displayed here were taken from these stelae. The chapter on Chinese Painting of the 20th Century is a re-discovery and also a new discovery. The works give an insight into the intersections between Chinese tradition and Western inspired modernism. They testify to the influence which colonialism exerted on the development of 20th century
Fördererkreis des Museums für Ostasiatische Kunst Köln
Orientstiftung zur Förderung der Ostasiatischen Kunst
Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, Marion Mennicken
Tuesday to Sunday
11am – 5pm
Every first Thursday in the month
11am – 10pm
Museum is closed on December 24th, Christmas Day (25 Dec), New Year's Eve (31 Dec) and New Year's Day (1 Jan). Museum is opend on Easter Monday and Whit Monday.
Permament Collection + Drunk on Sobriety: € 7 / € 4
KölnTag on the first Thursday of the month (except public holidays): free admission to the Permanent Collection for all Cologne residents.
How to get here
Public transport: Tram routes 1 and 7 and bus route 142, alight at ‘Universitätsstrasse’
There is a car park at the museum
The museum is barrier-free. Disabled toilet available.