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17-year-long effort to compile collection of ancient Chinese paintings bears fruit

www.ehangzhou.gov.cn| Updated: December 20, 2022 L M S


People visit the exhibition of ancient Chinese paintings. [Photo/huanqiu.com]

An exhibition curated by Zhejiang University features China's achievements in compiling "A Comprehensive Collection of Ancient Chinese Paintings." The state project involves at least 12,405 paintings or sets of paintings from domestic and overseas museums and other cultural institutions.

The compilation includes the majority of extant Chinese paintings classified as national treasures, with the prints making up 226 books in 16 volumes so far. The project, which started about 17 years ago, will conclude at the end of the year.

"These rare and precious national treasures are few in number and scattered across the world. Now, they are gathered here," said Wang Xiaosong, deputy dean of School of Art and Archaeology of Zhejiang University. "The success of the project would have been impossible without the cooperation of 263 museums and cultural institutions across the globe, as well as the strong support of experts and scholars."


People visit the exhibition of ancient Chinese paintings. [Photo/huanqiu.com]

Over the years, the team in charge of the project launched three worldwide campaigns to collect images of ancient Chinese paintings.

"In order to photograph paintings, we needed to submit applications to the collecting unit over the course of many years and even had to visit in person multiple times," said Jin Xiaoming from the Chinese Ancient Calligraphy and Painting Research Center of Zhejiang University.

The team used the latest technologies, including virtual reality and 3D printing, to create interactive audio-visual-tactile installations that offer audiences a panoramic and multi-dimensional experience of Chinese paintings and grotto temples.

"We know these paintings are very old and many details are difficult to see clearly. But through our digital magnification and high-definition scanning, the results meet strict research requirements," Wang detailed.

For example, a palm-sized painting of a Song Dynasty (960-1279) building was magnified by a factor of 300, allowing viewers to better appreciate the ingenuity and skill of ancient painters.


People visit the exhibition of ancient grottoes. [Photo/huanqiu.com]

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