The Museum Rietberg owns one of Europe's most important collections of Chinese art, with a focus on Buddhist sculpture, funerary art (bronzes, jades, ceramics), and painting from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911). The long-term loan of the world-famous Meiyintang Collection of Chinese ceramics has greatly added to its reputation.

Thanks to the founding donor Eduard von der Heydt the Museum possesses a world-famous group of Buddhist stone stelae and sculptures from cave temples of the 6th to the 9th centuries. This includes especially the stone stelae of the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534) and sculpture from Chinese cave temples.

Thanks to gifts from Alice and Pierre Uldry, Ernst Winkler's collection of Chinese bronzes and Eduard von der Heydt's original bequest, ancient Chinese bronzes are represented with outstanding examples. Integrated into the permanent collection are a selection of Chinese cloisonné works as well as a number of silver vessels and gold and silver jewelry on long-term loan from the Alice and Pierre Uldry Collection.

A small selection of Chinese literati paintings which the collector Charles A. Drenowatz gave to the Museum in 1978 are exhibited in regular rotations. Due to this bequest which encompasses a number of world-renowned masterpieces of Chinese painting, the Museum Rietberg has one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of later Chinese painting in Europe.