It is a multidisciplinary publication, dealing with some of the historical, political, religious, cultural, demographic and sociological connections between Ireland – both North and South – and the East.
The chapters, which offer novel perspectives for the field of Irish studies, are organised in a chronological sequence, from the mid-19
The Albert M. Bender Collection of Asian Art in the National Museum of Ireland 75
75 The Albert M. Bender Collection of Asian Art in the National Museum of Ireland Audrey WHITTY National Museum of Ireland The collection of Far Eastern Art, which Albert Maurice Bender (1866-1941) donated to the National Museum of Ireland from 1932 to 1936, is in artistic terms one of the most valuable of all Asian material under the Art and Industrial Division of the organization. Comprising approximately 260 objects, the most important being Tibetan-Chinese t’angka paintings and Japanese woodblock prints, this series of donations in honour of the donor’s mother, Augusta Bender, is remarkable in its generosity and has never been repeated in the history of the NMI. A detailed account of the history of the donation has been preserved in the archives of the Art and Industrial Division, NMI,1 and it is from these records that the majority of my discussions will proceed. The first suggestion that Bender was interested in developing a collection of Far Eastern Art with a view to subsequent museum acquisition came in a letter to the NMI’s Keeper of Irish Antiquities, Dr. Adolf Mahr, on 5 December 1931. It reads as follows: My dear Mahr: I am writing you at the suggestion of my friend, Dr. Walter Starkie of Trinity College. You may remember that he spoke to you regarding the project of my presenting to the museum twenty-one Tibetan pictures, in the name of my dear mother: To Remember Augusta Bender. My parents lived in Dublin for nearly thirty years, where my...
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