Oct. 15, 2014. Princeton users have access for one month to the Apabi image database at www.apabi.com/artsus. The collection is highly organized; the top-level categories (called “museums”) are Chinese art, calligraphy, folk art, red (i.e. socialist) art, unearthed objects, old photographs, ancient design, modern graphic design, historical costumes, rare book illustrations, classical painting manuals, typography, and pattern design. Each museum has “rooms.” The database contains over 200,000 images; the largest categories are old photographs (75,000), Chinese art (35,000), rare book illustrations (30,000), folk art (13,000) and calligraphy (12,000). Short descriptions of images, as well as the usual image functions including scrolling through an image, are provided. “High resolution” is up to 300 dpi. Images can be downloaded after individual registration. Suggestions for related images are provided.
While the China Digital Library, of which this is a part, has an English interface, very little of this particular database is available in romanization or English; thus, knowledge of Chinese is required.
One can search all divisions at once, or separately; main search criteria are by image title, artist, period, place of origin of the work, and current location. In addition, each museum can be browsed using criteria appropriate to that museum:
- Chinese art by category (portraiture, landscape, bronzes, textiles, architecture…), period, origin, current location
- Calligraphy by style (xingshu, caoshu, …), period, origin, current location
- Folk art by category (nianhua, shadow figures, paper cuts, clothing…), subject (story people, gods…), regional style
- Red (i.e. socialist) art by category (propaganda, movie posters, book covers, oil paintings…), subject (leaders, model figures, women, children…), period (1930-), and topics (Anti-Japanese Resistance, Great Leap Forward…)
- Unearthed objects by category (ceramics and jade only), period, province
- Old photographs by region, subject (history, customs, medicine, religion…), period (19th c. -)
- Ancient design by category (eating utensils, ritual vessels, drinking utensils, weapons, furniture, musical instruments, seals…; 25 categories in total), period, material (gold, silver, bamboo, enamel…)
- Modern graphic design by category (advertisements, posters, book covers, slogans…), industry (clothing, movies and entertainment, hygiene… ), subject (markets, theater, Westernized imports, technology…)
- Historical costumes by categories (commoners, court, army, underwear, advertisements…) and period
- Rare book illustrations by category (portraiture, landscape, stories…), period, editions (collotype, woodblock…)
- Classical painting manuals by category (landscape, birds…), period, topics (Sanxi tang, Jiezi yuan…)
- Typography by classification (pictorial, geometric…), topics (life, brand logo, struggles…), period (1930-)
- Pattern design by classification (abstract, modified traditional, landscapes…), topics (entertainment, congratulatory, propaganda…)
Because the database needs to be used in Chinese, and subscription price will depend on which categories are selected, it is very important to let us know your opinion, and if interested, in which categories, in order to enable us to make a decision. Please send your comments to Kim Wishart or Martin Heijdra.