Asian Textile Database

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The Asian Textile Database began in 2005 as a digital inventory of textiles used to remount East Asian paintings and calligraphy as scrolls and screens at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, DC. The initial group of nearly one thousand textiles was acquired by the museum’s East Asian Painting Conservation Studio (EAPCS) starting in the early 20th century. They were organized by fabric type and color with sample swatches kept in overstuffed binders. As the Studio continued to acquire more antique and new fabrics, and reproduce textile patterns from historic scroll mountings, the increasing number and variety of textiles made a digital solution necessary.

When conservators began to build the database, the need to collect information beyond basic inventory data became clear. Requests to survey textiles in the museum’s collections were increasing. Visiting researchers explained that access to many collections was limited, which required them to travel to numerous locations to piece together the histories and relationships of Asian textile fragments scattered across continents. Comparative analysis was siloed because there was no generally available repository of data. With the advice of textile scholars from Asia, Europe, and the US, the database was expanded to include fundamental technical data—pattern type and measurements, weave structure, thread count and twist, and more. High-resolution images, necessary to identify and compare characteristics of individual textiles, were also included. The goal became to create an open-access database that would expand over time to help facilitate the international study of Asian textiles.

For this Mediawiki database, editors have been selected to update information and add new textiles entries. Institutions with Asian textile collections are invited to become partners and provide new information and links to their online collections. Links to art historical and scientific research publications will be added selectively to the Database, Bibliography or Lexicon in accordance with the fundamental informational framework. Please contact the Asian Textile Database senior editors (see About CAMEO).

Please see the Lexicon for more information on the terminology used in the database as well as their relationship to Japanese and Chinese terms. The terminology used and extent of information gathered is a compromise of opinions and resources.

Entries Divided by categories

Classification/Fabric Type


Base Color

Structural weave/
Pattern weave

Supplementary Pattern


How the Use the Asian Textile Database

The full list of database records is below. Clicking on a subcategory above (or below) will generate a list of records for that subcategory. The search box in the upper right may be used to search for all records that contain a specific term (for example: damask, twill, auspicious symbols, red, cotton, etc.). A search on any word or phrase will show all records containing that word or exact phrase.

See the Lexicon for standard terminology (in English, Chinese and Japanese) used in this database.

Pages in category "Asian Textile Database"

The following 118 pages are in this category, out of 322 total.

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