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College of East Asian Studies: East Asian Studies Image Resources

Visual & Image Reources


ARTstor, an initiative of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is a subscription-based digital image resource with more than 750,000 images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences. 

Recommended collections related to East Asian studies include:

  • The Mellon International Dunhuang Archive 
  • Huntington Archive of Asian Art
  • Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection
  • Asian Art Photographic Distribution (University of Michigan)
  • Carl Strom and Jennifer Strom: Korean Buddhist Monasteries
  • Rob Linrothe: Tibetan and Buddhist Art (Skidmore College)   

1001 Wonders, formerly World Heritage Tour

Panoramic views of sites selected from among the World Heritage list and the World Monuments Watch Fund list among others. Includes sites throughout Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, as well as China and Korea.    

Asian Historical Architecture                                         

       Over 14,000 images of Asian historical architecture from 732 sites in 20 countries.

Botanical and Cultural Images of East Asia, 1907-1927, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Collection of travel and research photographs taken by plant explorers working in East Asia in the early 20th century. Scenes of daily life, plants, landscapes, and architecture.  

Cities/Buildings Database, University of Washington

 10,000 images of buildings and cities around the world. Includes approximately 2,000 photographs contributed by Daniel C. Waugh, Professor of History at the University of Washington and director of Silk Road Seattle.

Huntington Archive

The John C. and Susan L. Huntington Photographic Archive of Buddhist and Asian Art contains nearly 300,000 original slides and photographs – photographic documentation of art and architecture throughout Asia. Countries covered in the collection include India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma), China, and Japan. The documentation covers in situ works of art and architecture ranging from approximately 2500 B.C.E. to the present, as well as pieces found in most major Asian, European, and American museums.

Internet Mission Photography Archive    

In the IMPA project, the Yale Divinity Library is partnering with five other archival repositories in Europe and North America to develop an online database of missionary photographs taken between 1850 and World War II. The database currently contains more than 10,000 images, of which nearly 3,000 have been contributed by the Divinity Library at Yale. This database is an important scholarly resource for missions historians, art historians, scholars of religion, historical sociologists, visual anthropologists, area specialists, and geographers.                                                                                                                      

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

Asia and the Pacific Rim in Early Prints and Photographs

Over 1,000 images of historic prints and photographs digitized from the NYPL’s rare book collections depicting people and scenes of daily life, landscapes and architecture, dating from the 18th to early 20thcenturies. Browsable by collection or subject terms.

Notable items that have been digitized include:


more image sources

Online Museum Resources on Asian Art (OMuRAA), Asia for Educators Program, Columbia University

Gateway to museum sites, specifically online exhibitions, according to subject area or topic, time period, country/region, and religion.

TransAsia Photography Review

Journal devoted to the discussion of contemporary and historical photography from Asia; this link brings you to the journal's image resources page.

Virtual Collection of Masterpieces, Asia-Europe Museum Network

 Searchable database of over 1,351 images, founded by the Asia-Europe Museum Network from the contributions of over sixty museums throughout Europe, and East and Southeast Asia.   

Center for the Art of East Asia, University of Chicago

Database of Chinese handscroll paintings held in the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art and East Asian Library at the University of Chicago as well as the Institute of Fine Arts (Chicago), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. Users are able to continuously view entire works with curatorial comments and translations of inscriptions and colophons.

Site devoted to the study of the Xiangtangshan Caves (Hebei Province) and the historical and artistic artifacts of the Northern Qi dynasty (550-577). Includes a database of Xiangtangshan sculptures in collections outside of China with zoom functionality and 3D digital models. The project will eventually also present 3D digital models of the caves and sculptures at the Southern Xiangtangshan site, with present-day and reconstructed views.

Chinese Pamphlets: Political Communication and Mass Education in the Early Period of the People’s Republic of China

 Collection of Nationalist and Communist political documents from Hong Kong and Mainland China (ca. 1947-1954) that comprises of digitized posters, pamphlets, postcards etc., from the collection of Edward Hunter (1902-1978). Searchable by keyword, or browsable by subject (e.g. World politics--1945-1955; Songs, Chinese), or by series (e.g. Mass Education materials, 1949-1952. Anti-Imperialism). Database hosted by the Center for Research Libraries.

Chinese-Australian Historical Images in Australia (CHIA) database

 Image database created by the Chinese Museum (Melbourne) and La Trobe University with contributions from other institutions as well as private collections. Browsable via collection or repository, people, and subject terms organized according to the following categories: Concepts, Corporate Bodies, Events, Families, Places, Occupations.   

Ethnological Collection of Southwestern China, Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica (Taiwan)  中国西南 少數民族資料庫

Image database devoted to photographs (as well as text and maps) of ethnic groups in southwestern China.

Gerald Warner Taiwan Image Collection, Lafayette College                                                                     

Collection of over 300 photographs and postcards from the Japanese Colonial period in Taiwan, collected by Gerald Warner, US Consul to Taiwan from 1937 to early 1941. Keyword searchable and browsable via subject headings (e.g. Geography, Food, Agriculture, Clothing, Architecture, Labor, Travel and Transportation, Arts, Spectacles, Community, Administrative Agencies, Religious Practices, Education). 

Hedda Morrison Photographs of China, 1933-1946, Harvard-Yenching Library

Collection of 5,000 photographs taken by the German photographer Hedda Morrison from 1933-1946. Topics include landscapes, architecture, trade, scenes of daily life and religious life. 

Historical Chinese Postcard Project: 1896-1920, Institut d’Asie Orientale (Lyon, France)

 Postcards from late imperial and early Republican China. 

Historical Photographs of China, Institut d’Asie Orientale (Lyon, France)

Image database of 4,901 historic photographs depicting political and social life, trade and business, scenes of daily life, landscapes, public events, and architecture, taken from the late 19th century up to and including the Republican period. In addition to unspecified missionary collections, the database contains the collections of the following individuals: diplomat Fu Bingchang (b. 1895-d. 1965); commissioner for the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, R.F.C. Hedgeland (b. 1874); Director of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Shanghai Municipal Police, William Armstrong (b. 1867- d. 1931); merchant and businessman, and partner in the China merchant firm of John Swire & Sons Ltd, G. Warren Swire (b. 1883-1949); tea broker, J.C. Oswald collection. Created by the University of Bristol, University of Lincoln, and the Institut d’Asie Orientale with contributions from other institutions and private archives. 

Hugh Dean East Asian Pamphlet Collection, Lewis & Clark College

 Collection of pamphlets relating to the Chinese civil war and the Sino-Japanese war, published in the 1930s and 1940s by the China Defense League (Hong Kong and Chongqing) and the Workers Library (New York), Chinese Vanguard Publishing Company (New York) among others. Whole pamphlets may be downloaded and searched in PDF format. 

National Central Library, Digital Collections 國家圖書館 

This site contains many primary resources that are useful for research on history of Taiwan, such as photographs during the 19th century, postcards and class books during the Japanese occupation period, liberty lottery tickets, etc.

National Library of China, Digital Collections: Chinese memory 华夏记忆 中国国家图书馆 

Site includes databases for the following:

National Museum of History: National Historical and Cultural Artifacts Digital Collection Project

經典意像珍藏台灣- 數位典藏國家計畫

 Collection of historical and cultural artifacts, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, bronzes, jade, and textiles, digitized by the National Museum of History, Taipei.   

Peking University Rare Books & Rubbings Database


Rev. Claude L. Pickens, Jr. Collection on Muslims in China, Harvard-Yenching Library

1,000 images of historical photographs and print material from the collection of Rev. Claude L. Pickens, Jr., depicting the life of Muslims and Christian missionaries in Western China in the 1920s and 1930s. Includes scenes of daily life, portraits, religious and secular architecture.

Robert Henry Chandless Photographs, University of Washington

Approximately 200 images from the collection of Robert Henry Chandless, an American employee of the British import-export firm of Pool Lander. Views of the Boxer Rebellion, as well as images depicting daily and social life, major architectural sites and other scenes in Beijing and Tianjin in the early 1900s. The album may be searched or browsed by subject.

Sidney D. Gamble Photographs, Duke University Library

Photographs from the collection of sociologist Sidney D. Gamble. Currently featuring photographs taken during socio-economic surveys conducted in China dating from 1917-1932. Photographs depict urban and rural life, events, architecture and religious sites.  Photographs taken in Korea and Japan are also included. 

South Central China and Tibet: Hotspot of Diversity, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

 Expedition photographs of plant and bird specimens, landscapes, and people of the Hengduan Mountain region which includes western Sichuan and eastern Tibet (Xizang), Expeditions conducted in 1924-1927, 1997, 1998, and 2000.  

Thomas H. Hahn Docu-Images: Historical Photographs of China                                                                Online archive of historical photographs and personal photography of Thomas H. Hahn, Ph.D. Example collections include: Images from the Cultural Revolution, Manchurian (Pneumonic) Plague of 1910-11, Early Photographs of Daoist Sites and Practices, (Sacred) Mountains and Sites in China.

Tsinghua University, Digital Library on Chinese Architecture                                                       

Collection of photographs, 3-D animations, and videos. Includes photographs and drawings from the collection of Liang Sicheng.