The collection of Asian art also encompasses ceramic, porcelain and bronze objects as well as a lacquer box in the shape of a crane. Beautiful utilitarian objects keep company with pieces that were collected by the wealthy or played a role in religion: bronze casks for offerings of wine and food. A cong (a decorated jade cylinder) from around 2000 BCE is, in fact, the oldest artefact in the Rijksmuseum. The actual function of this mysterious object remains unknown.
Furthermore, the Rijksmuseum owns over 2000 pieces of Chinese porcelain (made for export), as well as ceramic ware used by the Chinese themselves, such as a delicate 12th-century bowl with hare’s fur glaze. Coming from Japan are the sturdier raku bowls, which were used for the famous tea ceremony. And, the museum owns several spectacular luxurious glass and enamel bowls made in Lucknow, India, at the end of the 18th century.