Freer Begins Fifth Trip to Asia

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  • Charles Lang Freer sails from San Francisco for an eight-month visit to Japan and China, his fifth and final trip to Asia. In Japan he visits old friends, including the Japanese art collector Hara Tomitarō, but soon leaves for China. While in Beijing, Freer concentrates on expanding his Chinese art collection. With assistance from the American ambassador William James Calhoun and his wife, Freer views parts of the Forbidden City and visits the Manchu official Duanfang, whom he first met in 1909. Freer later acquires important pieces from Duanfang's collection of Chinese art after his assassination.
  • Freer journeys into the interior of China and tours the ancient Chinese capital cities of Kaifeng and Luoyang, which impress him with their antiquity. Freer also is interested in religious sites and records 5th-century carvings and inscriptions from Buddhist caves at Longman. In January 1911 he sails for Shanghai, where he purchases important Chinese paintings from Pang Yuanji. In February he explores the Southern Song dynasty's capital at Hangzhou. After spending time in Japan, he sails back to the United States in April. Freer intends to return to China to visit the ancient cities of Xi'an and Yungang, but he never visits Asia again.


  • Freer, Charles Lang 1854-1919
  • Tomitaro, Hara
  • Duanfang 1861-1911
  • Calhoun, William J (William James) 1848-1916
  • Pang, Yuanji 1864-1949
  • Freer Gallery of Art


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • In 1906 Charles Lang Freer donates his art collection to the Smithsonian Institution, and it later becomes the Freer Gallery of Art.
  • Lawton, Thomas and Linda Merrill. Freer: A Legacy of Art. Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1993, p. 87-96.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


August 1910


  • Description and travel
  • Stone carving
  • Art
  • Antiquities
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Ambassadors' wives
  • Ambassadors
  • Art, Chinese
  • Art, Japanese
  • Painting
  • Art, Buddhist
  • Travel


  • China
  • Japan

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