Calligraphic tile
Iran, late 13th century - early 14th century

From Paul Groves, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

I’m delighted to announce the recent launch of Eastern Art Online: The Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

This is a major online resource from the recently expanded and refurbished Ashmolean, to open up the University of Oxford’s Islamic and Asian Art collections held at the Museum to a wider audience.

The site showcases collections from the Islamic Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea. Currently there are around 1,400 objects on the site, but this figure will be expanded over time as documentation work progresses and over 11,000 objects have actually been photographed as part of the project, most three dimensional objects with multiple views.

It is possible to zoom into very high-quality images from a wide range of media, including ceramics, textiles, sculpture, metalwork, paintings and prints. Much effort has gone into try to make the website as usable as possible and to provide a number of different ways in which to approach the collections, including features such as an interactive timeline and floorplan, as well as online galleries, online versions of publications and “collection trails”.

As well as expanding the amount of content on the site, the next phase of the project aims to build on the foundations already created and to add new features to the website, allowing greater user interaction and ways in which to explore the collections.

The project started in 2007 with the support of arts philanthropist Yousef Jameel (for more info. see: http://jameelcentre.ashmolean.org/project/21). Also funded by Yousef Jameel and opening later this year will be a (physical) study centre of Islamic and Asian Art at the Ashmolean.

I hope you all take the opportunity to have a look at the site and I would very much welcome any feedback you have about it, especially any ways in which you think it could be improved or enhanced – we’re open to ideas, including possible collaborations with other institutions.

I would also like this opportunity to thank Keepthinking Digital design (http://www.keepthinking.it/ ), who worked closely with us to develop the design and functionality of the website, as well as heroically grappling with our very complex data. Special thanks are also due to Martin Bazley (http://www.martinbazley.com/) for his hard work gathering user testing feedback throughout the development lifecycle. A full list of acknowledgements can be found at: http://jameelcentre.ashmolean.org/project/919