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President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
Jinah Kim (Project Director: June 2019 to present)
Mapping Color in History

The development of a pilot database and visualization tools that will allow users to search a large collection of paintings by pigment and to determine the time and location where particular works of art were painted based on the availability of pigments.

Mapping Color in History [MCH] brings together the scientific data drawn from existing and on-going material analyses of pigments in Asian painting in a historical perspective. As a digital portal with a searchable online database, MCH will not only document pigments and their material properties, but also enable an in-depth historical analysis of pigment data through a search tool that will identify specific examples and their locations in both time and space. It takes an object-based method for data collection instead of a pigment-based organization scheme. By developing a database model that can normalize fragmentary and uneven data, MCH will help scholars to bring together disparate data that is difficult to find or compare. A Level II NEH grant will support the completion of a pilot database of historical pigments linked to paintings, locations, times and a visualization tool that will allow users to search the database for entries that match a particular pigment.

[Media coverage]

Project fields:
History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; South Asian History

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants

Digital Humanities

$99,017 (approved)
$94,245 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 11/30/2022