The establishment of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of East Asian Art in September 1919 saw the amalgamation of two large collections of Asiatic artefacts. The first one, comprising over 3,500 objects, had been assembled by the founder of the museum, Ferenc Hopp, and included 2,000 Japanese artefacts; the second collection was made up of 2,300 Japanese items purchased by Count Péter Vay on behalf of the Hungarian state. Count Vay made these purchases in Japan in 1907, and the items were exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts in 1908 and again in 1910.
The presentation of Péter Vay’s fascinating life and activities is brought to completion by the integral connection between this volume and the exhibition of his collection at the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts. Despite having been part of the Hungarian public collection for over one hundred years, there has never been a comprehensive presentation of Vay’s Japanese collection since the exhibitions curated in the Museum of Fine Arts in 1908 and 1910. Besides the paintings, graphics, and sculptures, the display of a rich selection of applied art objects from the collection makes it the first comprehensive presentation of Vay’s life and collecting work he undertook in East Asia, as well as the first presentation of its history and its historical context in the broader sense.
As an introduction to the collection purchased in Japan, the present volume contains a study summarising Péter Vay’s understanding of Eastern art and his art-collecting practice, as well as a catalogue authored by Györgyi Fajcsák, presenting the Vay collection as a whole and the significant works within it. Drawing on the latest research findings, this volume also includes, as an appendix, the biography of Péter Vay, together with the sources of the biographical information; in addition, there is a map of his travels and a bibliography of his selected writings.