Sackler Collections at Columbia

Sackler head
Sackler bronze bowl
Sackler Bodhisattva
Sackler plaque
Sackler Chinese monster
Sackler vessel
Sackler Buddha with companions

Image Credits:

All works in Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York, Sackler Collections

Top to bottom:

Head of a Bodhisattva, from China, Northern Wei dynasty (386-534), sandstone (S1087)

Ritual Grain Vessel (gui), from China, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Spring & Autumn period (771-476 BCE), bronze (S0495)

Standing Buddha, from China, Northern Qi dynasty (550-577), marble with limestone base (S3516)

Plaque with a Hunter and Lion, from Iran, 8th-7th century BCE, ivory or bone (S0130)

Crouching Monster, from China, Northern Qi dynasty (550-577), limestone (S1038)

Beaker with a Lion, from Iraq, Neo-Babylonian, 7th-6th century BCE, bronze (S0145)

Votive Stele Dedicated by Monk Zhilang, from China, dated 548, Eastern Wei dynasty (534-550), limestone with traces of pigment (S0270)

Dr. Arthur Mitchell Sackler (1913-1987) was one of the foremost collectors of East Asian art during the 20th century, but he is perhaps best remembered for his generous donations of these works to educational institutions and museums worldwide. Columbia benefited greatly from Sackler’s generosity through donations of more than 2000 works of art and cultural artifacts from the Ancient Near East, China, and Korea. From 1961 to 1974, Sackler was associated with Columbia’s Department of Art History and Archaeology as a member of the Advisory Council, and he made most of his art donations at that time. The Sackler Collections remain the largest gift of objects to the University’s art collection, which is stewarded by Art Properties and based in Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.

The Sackler Collections are available for consultation by Columbia students, faculty, staff, and outside scholars, for classroom and research purposes. To schedule an appointment with Art Properties to see these works, email

Art Properties is gradually publishing information about Columbia's holdings from the Sackler Collections. To see a sample of some of these works, click on this PDF document.





A selection of works from the Sackler Collections are permanently installed in the Faculty Room, Low Library 207. In 1964 this room (formerly the East Asian Reading Room) underwent renovations and reopened to the public with display cases designed to showcase highlights from Sackler’s collections. The room was dedicated to Sackler’s parents Isaac and Sophie Sackler. Fifty years later, during the Spring 2014 semester, Art Properties updated the installation of works in these cases, highlighting a selection of works from the Sackler Collections. The Chinese bronzes, ceramics, and Buddhist art in these display cases cover a span of nearly 3000 years, from the Shang dynasty (ca. 1600-1046 BCE) to the Song dynasty (960-1279), with one case dedicated to ceramics from Korea. This reinstallation was the result of a course-related project held that same semester with Prof. Robert Harrist, Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History, and his graduate students for the seminar Chinese Art at Columbia. For this course Harrist invited outside curators who specialize in Chinese bronzes, ceramics, and Buddhist art to work with his students in studying the objects installed in the cases, some for the first time. The students researched and wrote essays about the art works from the Sackler Collections. This collaborative, curricular-integrated project has resulted in increased knowledge and awareness about these objects, and enabled Art Properties to reinstall the works in a new way, including object labels about each piece for the first time. Also installed in these cases are a few works donated by Frank M. Michaelian, who was inspired by Sackler’s generosity and presented a number of Chinese decorative arts to Columbia as well.


The Faculty Room is open to the public during regular operating hours at Low Library, although the room may be closed at times due to scheduled special events.



last updated 2/27/17