ScrollTimes: Tracing the Provenance of Paintings as a Window into History

06/15/2023
by   Wei Zhang, et al.
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Digital humanities research has flourished due to the diverse artifacts available in cultural heritage databases. However, over-reliance on a single artifact type can result in poor contextualization and a constrained understanding of historical context. We collaborated with art historians to examine handscrolls, a form of traditional Chinese painting which offers a wealth of data for historical analysis and provides a unique opportunity for understanding history through artwork. We propose ScrollTimes, a visual analysis system for tracing handscroll historic context by linking multiple data sources. Specifically, a unique layout is developed for efficiently viewing long handscrolls. Using image processing techniques and language models, we extract, verify, and supplement elements in handscrolls with different cultural heritage databases. Furthermore, interactive biographies are constructed for handscrolls to uncover their historical narratives, provenance trajectories, and artistic legacies. Validated through case studies and expert interviews, our approach offers a window into history, fostering a holistic understanding of handscroll provenance and historical significance.

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