New Pathways to Ancient Traditions reveals the latest gifts to the Berkeley Art Museum's permanent collection of Asian art, including the George and Frances Fong Collection of Chinese Ceramics and the Edward Gans Collection of Chinese Seals. These two donations bring over 150 new objects to the BAM collection, allowing the museum to provide new research materials for students and scholars as well as to enrich exhibitions for the broader public, both in the current location and in the Asian art galleries being planned for the new museum in downtown Berkeley. The Fong and Gans family collections reflect an unwavering passion for a particular field of art, selected with an eye toward a deeper understanding of the culture and history reflected in the artwork. These selections enhance our ability to convey the whole range of artistic endeavor in Chinese art and broaden our knowledge of its many rich traditions. George and Frances Fong have spent a lifetime collecting Chinese ceramics from the early dynastic periods, with a special interest in Song dynasty (960–1279) tea ware. George's passion for collecting Chinese ceramics was ignited during the Second World War, when he was stationed in Asia. He became fascinated with the technology and the aesthetics of these wares and spent the next sixty years in pursuit of beautiful examples. George and Frances, both Cal alums (they first met on campus, under the Campanile), determined early on that they wanted their collection to become a part of the Berkeley Art Museum collection, so that students from all walks of life would have the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the inherent beauty in Chinese ceramics. The fine craftsmanship and the elegant and refined forms of these ceramics demonstrate a long tradition that reaches back to the second century. While some pieces were made exclusively for burial, such as the lead-glazed watchtower from the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–200 A.D.) and the sculptures dating from the Tang dynasty (618–907), others, like the elegant Jun ware teacup and stand of the Song dynasty, were made for use by high-ranking connoisseurs of tea and art. The late Edward Gans was a passionate collector who seriously dedicated himself to pursuing coins and, later, seals from around the world. UC Berkeley's Near Eastern Studies department and the Berkeley Art Museum have shared in his generous gift of seals, with BAM retaining the East Asian portion of the collection. In the 1960s Gans entrusted the well-known art historian Na Chih-liang, curator at the National Palace Museum in Taichung, Taiwan, to catalog his collection. Na's commentary has helped to inform the dating and understanding of the seals in this exhibition. Each seal is a sculpture in miniature: the top is frequently carved or cast in the shape of an auspicious animal, while the base is either a person's name, a poetic reference, or an indication of rank. These beautiful objects served a very practical role in marking official documents as well as claiming ownership on papers, writings, and paintings. The seals are made of a wide range of materials including cast bronze, molded ceramic, carved jade and other hard stone, and ancient ivory. They all require close examination, which is rewarded with the marvel of this miniature art form. In addition to the Fong and Gans collections, the exhibition on view in Gallery 2 features significant gifts of calligraphy, sculpture, and metalwork that elaborate on the role of art in defining culture. We are grateful to the Fong and Gans families, and to the other longtime supporters whose recent gifts are presented in New Pathways, for sharing their interest in and passion for Asian art.