Guide to the Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art Collection

Processed by Emily Lin, UC Merced Library
The University of California, Merced Library
University of California, Merced
PO Box 2039
Merced, California, 95344
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Title: Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art collection
Date: 700-[ongoing]
Collection number: Consult repository.
Collector: Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art at the Clark Center

Clark family

Addiss, Stephen

Seo, Audrey Yoshiko
Extent: approximately 1200 items approximately 1000 online items (655 digital objects)
Repository: University of California, Merced. Library
P.O. Box 2039
Merced, California 95344
Abstract: The Ruth & Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art at the Clark Center houses a broad range of Japanese art, in diverse media and from multiple periods. The collection includes Japanese screen and scroll paintings, sculptures, prints, ceramics, textiles, metalwork and woven bamboo art, with works dating from the tenth century to the present day. Areas of particular emphasis within the representative collection include Buddhist sculpture and painting, screens and scrolls of the Edo Period (1615-1868), literati-style (Nanga) painting and calligraphy, modern kimono and woodblock prints, bamboo flower baskets and sculpture, and the ceramics of the contemporary Sueharu Fukami.
Physical location: Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art at the Clark Center, Hanford, California 93230-9533.
Languages: Japanese Chinese English
Selected digitized images from this collection.


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art. The Regents of the University of California have the rights to a non-transferable, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to the digital files. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. For additional information, please contact the Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art.

Preferred Citation

Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art Collection. University of California, Merced Library.

Acquisition Information

Creation of digital collection funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.


The Ruth & Sherman Lee Institute was founded in 1995 by Willard G. Clark and his wife, Elizabeth. Long attracted to the art and culture of Japan, the Clarks began acquiring Japanese art seriously from the 1970s, and their collection, though supplemented with later gifts, still comprises the core of the museum's holdings. The Clarks named the Institute in honor of their longtime friend and acquisitions advisor, Dr. Sherman Lee, former Curator of Asian Art at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Initially establishing the Institute as a scholarly project, the Clarks decided to open the museum to the general public in 1998, and have held quarterly exhibitions since then.

Scope and Content of Collection

Among the highlights of the collection are Buddhist paintings and sculptures from the 13th and 14th centuries; Edo period (1615-1868) paintings of various schools and celebrated masters; the single greatest resource collection of Nanga material in the world; and collections of modern and contemporary bamboo art and ceramics, the latter featuring numerous porcelain sculptures representing the career of Fukami Sueharu (1947-).
In addition, the Institute houses one of the largest collections of works by Kamisaka Sekka outside of Japan, as well as approximately 200 woodcut prints designed by the Yoshida Family and their students.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Art, Buddhist
figures (representations)
form (composition concepts)
Genre painting
Gods & goddesses
landscapes (representations)
Narrative painting
ceramics (objects)
color woodcuts
devotional objects
folding screens
hanging scrolls
letters (correspondence)
religious texts
sculpture (visual work)