Art: Oriental Coup

Plagued by staff resignations and soaring costs, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art might not have seemed in the best shape for heavy buying. But last week it announced a spectacular plunge. For $5.1 million the Met purchased the Harry Packard collection of Japanese art. In all, there are 412 objects, ranging from neolithic pots, clay Haniwa figures and 11th century Heian bronzes to screens and scrolls by some of the most revered figures in Japanese painting—Korin, Sotatsu, Mitsunobu. The amount was not quite the $5.5 million the museum paid in 1971 for...

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