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Most Americans—including future Asian art scholars and such collectors as Ernest Fenollosa and Edward Sylvester Morse—first had direct contact with Asian art at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Large-scale vases, elaborate bronzes, and delicate lacquerware from China and Japan were all on view. The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (now the Philadelphia Museum of Art) acquired many objects from exhibitors of the national displays of China, Japan, India, Tunis, Turkey, and Morocco. General Hector Tyndale, whose family business was involved in the importation and sale of ceramics in Philadelphia and who served as one of the judges for the Ceramics Section of the Exhibition, also collected a variety of pieces from all areas of Japan and China. A large group of those objects were bequeathed to the Museum in 1897.
In honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum, approximately fifty works of art associated with the Exhibition will be on display beginning 125 years to the day of the opening of the Centennial Exhibition itself.