The National Museum of Scotland holds more than ten million objects and encompasses five areas: Scottish History & Archaeology, Art & Design, World Cultures, Natural Sciences, and Science & Technology. The Museum is engaged in a long-term masterplan to renovate and renew its displays, and at present the East Asia gallery is closed. It is due to reopen as the final stage of this project in 2018. Meanwhile, an increasing number of items are visible through the online ‘Search our Collections’ facility.
The Japanese collection numbers approximately 10,000 items and covers a wide range of material from the Neolithic period to the present day. In pictorial art there is a collection of around 4,600 woodblock prints from the 19th century by artists such as Kunisada, Kuniyoshi and Hiroshige, as well as a group of prints spanning the twentieth century. There is a small, but growing, group of paintings from the Tokugawa period. There are ceramics, metalwork (including Meiji-era cloisonné and bronzes), textiles, swords and sword fittings (including 260 tsuba), armour, musical instruments, and decorative arts, including medicine cases (inro) and toggles (netsuke). There is a large collection of Japanese archaeology of the Jomon period donated to the Museum between 1908 and 1914 by the Scottish physician Dr Neil Gordon Munro, who also gave a group of about 350 objects from the Ainu people of Hokkaido, including ritual items, domestic clothing and accessories. In recent years, a strong collection of contemporary jewellery and crafts has been built up. Japan is represented also in the collections of natural history, military history, and science and technology.