Colorful Lanterns at Shangyuan

An interactive CD, Colorful Lanterns at Shangyuan, by Ina Asim, University of Oregon, 2004.Digitizing this anonymous Ming (1368-1644) scroll onto an educational CD combines history and art history through the study of cityscapes, a type of Chinese genre scroll painting.  Geiss Foundation was pleased to support this innovative project.Scroll paintings, which originated in the Song dynasty (960-1279), can offer a rich source of information regarding the economic situation and sociological structure of the cities depicted.  The handscroll here, portrays a street in Nanjing during the Lantern Festival.This public display of colorful lanterns of different sizes and designs traditionally marked the end of Lunar New  latern1
 latern2 Year celebrations. This scroll documents the pleasures of the festival in a lively way. People are shown betting and gambling, listening to storytellers, or observing people trying to balance a football or shuttlecock in the air.The interactive CD of “Lantern Festival at Shangyuan” allows access to a wide audience to examine its complete length in detail.  The painting was scanned and underwent a meticulous electronic cleaning, which made originally unrecognizable details visible once again. The digitized version contains many ‘hotspots’ or details of special interest. These hotspots, which glow when a mouse is passed over them, open separate windows offering detailed background information. The view can zoom in on any sector of the scroll, permitting minute study of details often impossible to detect without enhancement.