East AsiaChina, Korea, Japan
The focus of the collection is on artistic and ethnographic objects from Japan. No less than the heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand von Austria-Este contributed to this Japanese emphasis, assembling numerous valuable objects on his trip around the world in 1892-1893. Among the highlights of his collection number two gigaku masks from the 8th or 9th century, which have been given the status of national treasures in Japan.
Equally remarkable is the collection of Heinrich Siebold, which has been in the Museum of Ethnology as a donation since 1888, and encompasses 5,315 objects. In more recent times, Japanologists and Ethnologists have collected artefacts of traditional folk culture and agricultural objects.
The earliest holdings from China and Korea derive from 19th century voyages around the world or from consular collections.