While seeking to increase his collection of Tournai porcelains, Raoul Warocqué fell under the spell of Chinese porcelains exported in the 18th century, which he acquired in large numbers, in this way sacrificing to his era’s taste for “chinoiseries”. From his single trip to China and Japan, in 1910, he then brought back “curiosities”: jades, cloisonné enamels, textiles and small bronzes, all of variable interest and quality but among which some exceptional works are found.
The section on the Far East is made up of this interesting but disparate collection, which gives preference to the arts of the later periods. The panorama is now broadly filled out with antique pieces, amongst which ceramics occupy a dominant place.
The section is open toward the countries under Chinese influence as well - Japan, Korea and Vietnam - and searches amongst the works of the past for keys to understanding their culture today.
The Tea House entrusted to the museum by the Urasenke School of Tea in Kyoto in 2001 gives visitors an opportunity to find out about a facet of Japanese traditional architecture and also, by means of ceremonies that are organized regularly, to better understand the role of ceramics in Japanese tradition and life.
Korean ceramics are illustrated by a collection recently brought together of works by contemporary artists working on the basis of ancestral techniques, thus witnessing to a spiritual and aesthetic connection between the past and the present that has never been denied.
The only country in Southeast Asia under Chinese influence, Vietnam is represented at the Mariemont thanks to a small collection of very high quality works, several of which were acquired thanks to patronage. All express simultaneously the historical connections and the profound differences between this country and its giant neighbour to the north.