NPM offers free access to images of precious artworks

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The free licensing service on the NPM’s website offers convenient access to 71,640 images of precious artworks in the museum’s collections. (Courtesy ...

The free licensing service on the NPM’s website offers convenient access to 71,640 images of precious artworks in the museum’s collections. (Courtesy ...

A total of 71,640 images of precious artifacts in the National Palace Museum's collections can be downloaded free of charge effective immediately, according to the Taipei City-based art institution July 7.

The NPM said the first set of data available online comprises 1,640 medium-resolution images of famed artworks and 70,000 low-resolution images of artifacts, calligraphy and paintings in its holdings.

These include the NPM's signature pieces such as the Jadeite Cabbage with Insects, Meat-shaped Stone and Mao Gongding, as well as the calligraphy masterpieces "Timely Clearing after Snowfall" by Wang Hsi-chih (303-361) and "Autobiography" by Huai Su (730s-770s).

According to the museum, the free licensing service is part of its open data initiative established in 2015 to offer direct access to images of precious artworks and research materials for all purposes, an approach in line with the practices of major museums around the world.

The NPM said these images are the results of the National Digital Archive project and should be shared by the general public. It is hoped that the public service will inspire Taiwan's cultural and creative firms to incorporate these images into their product designs while boosting the local sector's global competitiveness, it added.

As part of its public policy, the NPM will continue to expand the content of its open data archive and release 500 new images on a quarterly basis.

Established in 1965, the NPM is home to the world’s largest collection of Chinese imperial art spanning 7,000 years from the prehistoric Neolithic period to the end of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The institution opened a second branch in southern Taiwan's Chiayi County in December 2015 showcasing artifacts from diverse Asian civilizations.