Asian Textile Database

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The Asian Textile Database began in 2005 as a digital inventory of textiles used to mount East Asian paintings and calligraphy scrolls and screens at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, in Washington, DC. The nearly one thousand textiles, acquired by the museum’s East Asian Painting Conservation Studio (EAPCS) over the past ninety-five years, had been organized by fabric type and color in overstuffed binders. The Studio continued to increase its stock of old fabrics and reproduce antique textile patterns from historic scroll mountings, and with the number and variety of textiles increasing, a digital solution was necessary.

As conservators built the initial database, the need to expand 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 photos, 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 200 pages are in this category, out of 309 total.

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