Editors' pick

Freer Gallery of Art - Smithsonian Institution

Freer Gallery of Art - Smithsonian Institution photo
(Detail from James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room/Freer Gallery of Art)
Through 8/24

Japanese Screens: Landscapes and Waterscapes

A collection of Japanese screens from the 15th to 19th century.
Through 9/14

Bountiful Waters: Aquatic Life in Japanese Art

An exhibition of ceramics, paintings, prints and illustrated books that depict Japan's appreciation for the beauty and variety of fish and other species.
Through 9/14

Chinese Ceramics for Tea in Japan

A display of Chinese bowls, jars and ceramics acquired by Charles Lang Freer.
Through 9/21

Religious Art of Japan

Buddhist sculptures, masks and paintings reflect religious expression in Japanese art.
Through 9/28

Off the Beaten Path: Early Works by James McNeill Whistler

Drawings, etchings and watercolors the artist created while he was traversing the French countryside in the summer of 1858.

Dance and Music from West Java: Indonesian College of the Arts

Dancers and musicians from West Java perform traditional and contemporary songs and dances representing the island's Sudanese culture. At the Meyer Auditorium.
Through 10/26

Style in Chinese Landscape Painting: The Song Legacy

Features landscape paintings from the Song dynasty period, 907-1279, and later works that show an evolution of six different styles.
8/25 - 12/8

Ongoing exhibits:

Collections of ceramics, paintings and pottery from India, Vietnam and China.
Through 12/12

Promise of Paradise: Early Chinese Buddhist Sculpture

A collection of stone and gilt bronze Buddhist sculptures highlight two flourishing ages, the late Six Dynasties and the High Tang (6th to 8th century). The exhibition's dramatic focus is the monumental Cosmological Buddha: a life-size stone sculpture covered in intricate representations of the earthly realms. It is the only one of its kind in the world.
Through 12/12

The Nile and Ancient Egypt

High quality artifacts from the collections of Freer Gallery are showcased to illuminate the role and importance of water animals for ancient Egyptian religion and afterlife.

Editorial Review

The Buzz: Railroad-car manufacturer and art collector Charles Lang Freer donated his collections of Asian art to the United States along with the funds to build a museum. The result is a building next door to the Smithsonian Castle that houses -- along with its neighbor, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery -- 30,000 pieces of art from the Far and Near East as well as a collection of American art.

The Collections: The museum contains intricate Japanese screens, bronze Buddhas, colorful cloisonne pieces and Chinese paintings, but the true star of the permanent collection is the Peacock Room. Originally designed by Thomas Jeckyll, an English interior architect, the Peacock Room was once the dining room of a wealthy British ship owner. The room features leather wall hangings of peacocks in deep blue and gold (painted by James McNeill Whistler), Chinese blue-and-white porcelain bowls from the Qing dynasty and wooden shutters depicting four voluptuously plumed peacocks.

Programs: Together with the Freer, the Sackler hosts an ongoing series of public programs. Concerts, films (from classics to anime) and special lectures are held most weekends in the Meyer Auditorium. The museum also organizes ImaginAsia, programs for children ages 6 to 12.

Extras: Both museums offer gift shops with Asian art, jewelry, posters, T-shirts and items for children. Neither has a restaurant.

(Updated July 10, 2007)