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The Chinese Department of the Musée Guimet includes some 20 000 objects covering seven millennia of Chinese art, from the earliest times up until the 18th century.The archeological section opens with jades and ceramics from the Neolithic period and continues with major bronze works from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. In addition, there are large collections of harness equipment and saddlery, bronze mirrors and fasteners, coinage and lacquerwork.
In the statuary section, besides the large Buddhist sculpture (cf. The Buddhist Pantheon and The Central Asia Department), several donations-the Calmann, Rousset, Jacob, and Polain donations-have led to the establishment of an outstandingly varied collection of Han and Tang mingqi tomb figures.
The decorative arts section offers a highly comprehensive panoramic history of Chinese ceramics. A vast collection of some 10 000 stoneware, celadon and porcelain pieces covers the major centres of production, the key technical innovations, and the various aspects of taste involved in export or imperial commissions. The furniture collection includes major lacquerwork and rosewood pieces, while painting is represented by a thousand works ranging from the Tang to the Qing dynasties.