The other day a friend and customer asked me; “What is the best Asian Art reference site on the internet.” While many museums and dealers have websites and a number of hobbyist group sites like Gotheborg.com display a mix of ceramics and reign marks and have a contributor board. , nearly all have done a very poor job at indexing, populating and posting their sites.
They all tend to have a dozen or fewer images, all too small and maybe a title and little else. This includes the National Palace Museum in Taiwan and the Metropolitan Museums of Art in New York. These two get at best a “D” for content, information, ease of use and image quality. In other cases they show things of such low quality, but lots of them it might end up making you hate Asian Art.
So, who has the hands down BEST site?
For me the answer is easy. For the very best in quality and depth online The Freer and Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. wins hands down.
This is the Asian art reference informational and image site of all sites!! Fantastic is an understatement.
So you might ask how many images and text captions are on this site? Its hard to say actually. If you include; Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Southeast Asian and cover Ceramics, Paintings, , Prints, Bronzes and Carvings etc. somewhere around 5,500 images are available and ALL FOR FREE!!!! ALL the images Enlarge!!! For a quick peek have a look at the Chinese Art Section at the Freer - Sackler.
Yes I said all the data is free. Its free because its the Smithsonian Institution and the place belongs to us all the American people. If you add Islamic and middle eastern stuff, the images total over 6,000.
Enjoy it, the images can be saved onto your own computer as desktops for your computer, you can create a Private Collection on the site of you favorite images and things..sort of like having your own museum. So you can at last Collect Song bowls, Ming Paintings, Neolithic Bronzes, and Yuan Basins if your thing is Chinese…if Japan is your area of interest you can build a group of screens and scrolls. From a personal standpoint, the monchromes and are particularly excellent.
The possibilities are endless, the next rainy day you might even find something there to interest your children. If you decide its as good as I do..maybe make a donation of a couple dollars.
Have a peek at the site..