A taxonomic vehicle to explore the classical Chinese visual culture
The CIT provides free access to motifs, subjects and themes of images in a variety of material forms - paintings, sculpture, prints, book illustrations, ceramics, and other types of applied arts- made in China from 700 to 1900.
The image archive contains a great number of objects selected from the representative collections of museums and libraries. Its size will continue to grow through collaborations with more collections.
All the images are indexed with terms from an alternative classification scheme deeply rooted in the specificity of Chinese visual culture.
A database with multiple functions and features
  • Chinese, English bilingual search function
  • Filter function for more precise search
  • Lightbox that can be used for comparison with images inside and outside the database
  • Image links to the original source

    • …and much more

Overview of image archive:

CLICK on the image to the right and read the corresponding description.

ZOOM with the + and - buttons or scrollwheel of your mouse.

SEARCH & BROWSE for more information by clicking on the description


Supported by
Logo of the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Logo of the Bei Shan Tang Foundation

Logo of the V&A Logo of the National Palace Museum Taiwan Logo of the Metropolitan Museum Logo of the Cleveland Museum of Art Logo of the Harvard-Yenching Library