The Chinese Iconography Thesaurus (CIT) is freely accessible and brings together Sinology, Art History and Information Studies, creating the first alternative classification scheme, especially designed for 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 National Palace Museum in Taipei.
The database is an important resource for all interested in iconography, especially anyone concerned with motifs, subjects and themes of the Chinese art produced in the periods from the Five Dynasties to the Qing Dynasty.
Direct to The Chinese Iconography Thesaurus (CIT)