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World Museum Liverpool

William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN

Tel: 0151 478 4399







World Museum Liverpool was founded in 1851 and officially opened in 1860. The Ethnology collections are considered to be on of the most important collections in the UK and include collections from Asia, Africa, The Americas and Oceania. The museum cares for approximately 2,750 items from Japan with its strength lying in the 1189 pieces of arms and armour. The collections reflect the enthusiasm for Japanese art in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as local collectors including Randal Hibbert (1865-1942) and F W Mayor (d.1935) donated many items to the museum. Many of the finest pieces date to the Meiji period and include examples of metalwork and lacquerwork. As well as personal and domestic accessories, the collection includes sculpture (including a large intriguing bronze Kannon figure), works on paper (including Ukiyoe) and some Ainu material. In 1956 Norwich Castle Museum donated its entire ethnographic collection to Liverpool; this included a significant number of Japanese items.


Over 100 Japanese objects which include arms and armour, tsuba, netsuke, inro, Meiji metalwork and lacquerwork and Buddhist sculpture have recently been redisplayed in the World Culture gallery.






"Benten Vase" by Ryounsai Unno Moritoshi
© World Museum Liverpool


Suzurikabo writing box by Shibata Zeshin
© World Museum Liverpool



Map of Japanese Art Collections in the UK

  UK Based Japanese Organisations

  Japan Related Organisations
  Japan Information