The Ashikaga shoguns were avid patrons of the arts, known especially for their collections of Chinese objects (paintings, ceramics, bronzes), which they displayed both for their own enjoyment and during visits of eminent guests to their palaces. They also commissioned detailed illustrated manuscripts that inventoried the collections, described arrangements featured in their palaces, and gave instructions for their proper display. This paper will examine the changing roles and meanings of elaborate formal displays during the late fourteenth through sixteenth century by focusing on the performative aspects of the formal displays of the Ashikaga collections. I will first discuss sociopolitical meaning of formal displays for the Ashikaga, focusing on the special significance they held for the sixth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshinori (1394–1441; r. 1429–1441) during the visit of Emperor Go-Hanazono (1419–1471; r. 1428–1464). I will also analyze the shift from the use of Chinese objects as a means to consolidate the Ashikaga legitimacy to its gradually becoming a commodity with the decline of the Muromachi rulership, thereby exploring two layers of appropriations of Chinese objects in premodern Japan.