Treasures of the Nelson Art Gallery Part II

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In Part I, we covered the extensive photography collection. Now we explore the Asian, Egyptian, Native American, East Asian and impressionist Galleries. The museum was built in 1933, and the original art was purchased from the estates of William Rockhill Nelson and Mary Macafee Atkins both of prominent Kansas City families. The museum opened in the height of the great depression and has always been free. (although donations are graciously accepted). Even some of the readers who are native Kansas Citians might be surprised to know that up until 1983, the museum was actually two different galleries in the same building and didn’t formally combine until that year.

Asian Galleries

The Asian galleries include Art from China, Japan, and India. Highlights include replicas of Hindu, Jainist and Buddhist temples and some fabulous calligraphy collections.


Shiva springs from the infant of Ignorance and dances in the Hindu temple replica. 


Relief of Buddha and his disciples


Quan Yin in alabaster


Guanyin with Buddhist tapestry. Guanyin is an east Asian religious icon of mercy and compassion. She is a bodhisattva meaning she has attained enlightenment, but instead of entering Nirvana she chose to stay and help others on their path.  


Zen Buddhist Altar Japan

Egyptian, Roman and near eastern Collections

While not as extensive as the Asian Art collection, the museum does exceptional work at representing all the diverse work of these regions.


Horus of Buto. Usually Horus doesn’t take Lion form, but there was a cult in Buto who worshipped Horus in this guise. 


Egyptian sarcophagus.  


Winged genie blessing a date tree. Mesopotamia


Gold Medallion Roman


Roman Sarcophagus featuring the Nine Muses. Muses were daughters of Zeus who inspired people in the Arts. The Muses each had a specialty including Comedy, Drama, Music, Dance, and poetry among others. Each figure here holds an article that pertains to the expertise. 


The Native American Art collection is one of the newest additions. It includes tribes from all over the U.S. 


Ceremonial Mask from the Aleutian Indians of what is now Alaska. 

The Impressionist Works


Monet  “Boulevard Des Capucines”


The Sonata

In addition to Art, the Gallery hosts many cultural events including The Chinese New Year, Passport to India Festival, The Native American Pow Wow and The Day of the Dead celebration as well as concerts and Film Series throughout the year. No visit to Kansas City should miss this gem. The Nelson-Atkins is one of America’s finest Museums. 
















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