Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon

by Adriana Proser



Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon presents sixty-seven masterpieces collected by John D. Rockefeller III and his wife Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller. Illuminating the cultures and history of Asia, the book presents a magnificent selection of sculptures, bronzes, and ceramics that range from the late sixth century BCE to the early nineteenth century CE.

Highlights of the collection include spectacular Chinese vases, dynamic Indian Chola bronzes, and exquisite Southeast Asian sculptures. The Rockefellers collected art from across the continent, with works originating from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam. A selection of Japanese works reflects the Rockefellers’ working relationship with their art advisor Sherman E. Lee, a well-respected museum director and scholar of Asian art. As a collector and philanthropist, Rockefeller played an instrumental role in fostering cultural understanding and cooperation between Asia and America after the Second World War.

The collection, which was bequeathed to the Asia Society in New York City following Rockefeller’s death in 1978, represents the culmination of his life long interest in art and international politics. By building a collection of the highest quality and sharing it with the public, the Rockefellers aimed to educate Americans about the importance and diversity of Asian art as a means to encourage cross-cultural dialogue, elevate understanding of Asian cultures, and create bridges to future economic and sociopolitical dialogue and engagement.


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About the Author

Adriana Proser

Adriana Proser


Adriana Proser is John H. Foster Curator of Traditional Asian Art. A specialist in Chinese art, over the last sixteen years she has organized and co-organized over forty-five exhibitions featuring diverse works from all over Asia. These include the upcoming loan exhibition The Art of Impermanence: Japanese Works from the John C. Weber Collection and the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection and the exhibitions Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in China (2017) and Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms (2016) for Asia Society Museum. Her publications include Treasures of Asian Art: The Asia Society Museum Collections with Denise Leidy and Michelle Yun (Asia Society Museum and Delmonico, Prestel, 2016) ) and Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art (Asia Society Museum and Yale University Press, 2010), for which she served as editor and contributor. She is recipient of a Ph.D. in Chinese art and archaeology from Columbia University. Proser was formerly Assistant Curator of East Asian Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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