News & Media Centre

Book Launch: The Albert Bender Collection of Asian Art in the National Museum of Ireland

By:  Audrey Whitty,  Curator - Ceramics, Glass & Asian Collections

Dr. Patrick Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, is pleased to announce the launch of a new book titled “The Albert Bender Collection of Asian Art in the National Museum of Ireland”.

The publication will be launched by Roisin Ingle, Journalist, Irish Times on Wednesday, 30th November at 6.00 p.m. in Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7.

The purpose of this publication, written byDr. Audrey Whitty, Curator - Ceramics, Glass and Asian Collections, is to bring the collection, which has been on exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin, since 2008, to the widest possible audience.  

Between 1931 and 1936 Albert Bender donated approximately 260 artefacts of East Asian origin to the National Museum of Ireland. The works, mostly of Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan Buddhist art, are one of the most significant gifts ever received by an Irish cultural institution and are of the highest importance within the National Museum’s overall holdings of Asian material. The Bender collection is particularly renowned for its Tibetan Buddhist Thangkas (painted textiles depicting Buddhist scenes) and Japanese ukiyo-e (wood-block prints).

Commenting on the publication, Dr. Whitty said “this book documents the process of donation and catalogues and discusses the objects Bender gave.  In addition, it explores the cultural and collecting backdrop in both Ireland and California against which Albert Bender’s activities may be seen and assesses the cultural significance of his generosity in the context of Ireland in the post-Independence period”.

Director, Dr. Patrick Wallace said “the arrival of the collection in the National Museum was a conspicuous and highly unusual episode in the history of collecting non-western material by Irish institutions. This publication gives the first extensive discussion of  Albert Bender’s unparalleled contribution to the NMI and his numerous transatlantic artistic and literary links”.

The publication is exclusively sold in the National Museum of Ireland gift shop in addition to our shop online at to external website for €35.00        

For further press information please contact:

Maureen Gaule

Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

Tel: 01 - 648 6429 or 087 9031690             



Ann Daly,

Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

Tel: 01 – 648 6457 or 087 2368067


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