Open Access: Chinese Iconography Thesaurus

The Chinese Iconography Thesaurus (CIT) is freely accessible and brings together sinology, art history and information studies to create the first alternative classification scheme, especially designed for the Chinese visual culture, with a complementary image archive. Traditionally iconography has been used to index and access images of European art. Because of the lack of alternative models, the contents of non-Western art objects have long been catalogued according to Eurocentric classifications. To fill this gap, a research group led by Hongxing Zhang, Senior Curator of Chinese collections at the V&A London, created the CIT.

The CIT website is built and hosted by Brill. The database can be consulted in both Chinese and English and is regularly updated; Currently, it contains 10,000 terms extracted primarily from pre-1900 sources and 2700 images of objects from the V&A, the MET, and the NPM Taipei.