Tsunoda, Makiko
University of Oxford. Bodleian Library. Library Assistant (PhD candidate)

A study of Japanese nanga painting collections at the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum and its potential contribution to Japanese painting resources

This presentation will re-think the current Japanese painting resources at the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, as part of a survey conducted in preparation for my forthcoming PhD. My PhD project will compare Japanese nanga paintings with the Chinese paintings that influenced them using art historical studies and scientific analysis of the materials and media. The British Museum and the Ashmolean together have the largest collections of nanga paintings in the UK.

First, the current collections databases used at the Ashmolean and the British Museum will be introduced. Drawing on the experience of curators, collection managers, and IT specialists, and looking at areas such as required metadata, structures and compatibility to the resources of museums in Japan, the presentation will analyse the benefits, drawbacks, and points to be potentially improved through user experience of these databases. The databases will be compared with similar collections databases in other countries (e.g. Metropolitan Museum, Europeana, Integrated Collection Database of the National Museum, Japan).

Following this, the presentation will explore how and what resources will be collected from the Japanese paintings collections of the Ashmolean and the British Museum, and how the resources will be stored and used. This interdisciplinary project will involve taking high quality images of paintings using non-invasive scientific analysis (e.g. microfade UV-VIS reflectance, Raman, XRF, multispectral imaging, OCT) to reveal pigments and dyes information; to identify forgeries attributed to master Chinese and/or Japanese artists; to analyse light-sensitive colourants for preservation and display awareness; and to add data relating to paintings mounts – currently a very limited resource, despite its art historical significance.

In the end, I shall conclude what resources will be beneficial to the current museums’ collection databases for the future Japanese painting researchers, collection care activities and Japanese studies Librarians and Curators from a personal user’s view.



第一に、現在両博物館で使用されているコレクションデータベースを検討する。学芸員、コレクションマネージャー、IT スペシャリストの助力を得て、必要とされるメタデータ、データ内容と構造、日本の博物館データベースと互換性を検討し、現在のデータベースの利点、欠点、改善点について発表者の見解を述べる。また他国に所蔵されている類似のコレクションデータベースとの比較も行う。