Organized Panel Session
For the past twenty-five years, alongside my research as a scholar and work as a museum curator, I have been pursuing a career as a certified appraiser of East Asian arts. In this capacity I have been privileged to make the acquaintance of thousands of collectors both humble and exalted. Some acquired their possessions through purchases or gifts, others by inheritance. For this paper I plan to introduce the wide variety and vast quantity of East Asian arts and crafts, both modern and premodern, that entered the U.S. in the early post World War Two years via immigrants fleeing China and Korea, returning expatriates (missionaries and business personnel), and thousands of American service personnel stationed in Korea and Japan from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. Similar to how family businesses often flounder after three generations, I have found that only recently are present-day owners interested in selling or learning more about the unfamiliar objects in their possession. These objects, amassed by ordinary people residing in Asia, both natives of the countries from which the objects originated and American residing abroad, and retained by families over several generations, have largely eluded the eyes of researchers. Nevertheless, I believe that they deserve to be studied, despite the fact that many are not masterpieces, because they reveal the state and perceptions of East Asia by American expat consumers and Asian immigrants in the early postwar era, whose legacies are just now becoming public as these objects are re-entering the marketplace.