Japanese Woodblock Print Database
A database and visual search engine of over 200,000 Japanese woodblock prints. Starting in the early 1700s and exploding in popularity throughout the 1800s, Japanese woodblock prints depicted the fantastic world of Kabuki actors, courtesans, warriors, and nature. The style of the prints feels particularly modern and vibrant, even today a couple hundred years later. This project aggregates prints from a number of museums, dealers, and auction houses into a single searchable resource.
This project was started as a tool to aide myself in my research into Japanese woodblock prints. I found it to be incredibly difficult to even perform simple actions like locating a print or finding more information about a print.
This project has a few key components: 1) Prints are aggregated from a number of different sources around the globe (currently 23), all of which have various levels of usability (or un-usability, depending upon how you look at it). 2) Wherever possible artist names have been simplified and translated into English (making a number of Japanese-only collections searchable to lay scholars). 3) An image search engine has been implemented, making it possible for people to take pictures of prints that they see and find out more information about them.
As it stands this is a unique resource within the realm of prints or really art history studies in general. I've been working on it for a little over a year now and I want to get it out for people to play around with and get feedback on. I'm particularly immersed in Japanese woodblock studies so I would love feedback on ways in which I can make this more appealing and understandable to others that are new to this subject.
On the technical side, this project was done using the following technologies: Node, Express, jQuery, Bootstrap (web site), SOLR (text search engine), MatchEngine (image search engine), Node (for scraping), and EC2, S3, and Cloudfront (for hosting site and images). If you have any questions about how the site was implemented - please feel free to ask away!
Role: programmer, designer, researcher
posted by jeresig (16 comments total)
17 users marked this as a favorite