Google Art Project took off in 2011 with the aim to make the world’s great cultural artifacts viewable online. But mainland China has always been a sizable omission from its digital archives. That has finally changed with the first-ever Chinese museum now cataloged by Google.
50 priceless pieces from the Hunan Provincial Museum in central China can now be seen here. The museum specializes in items excavated from local Han-era tombs, plus bronzeware from the Shang and Zhou dynasties dating back to 1600BC. One of the oldest – and most adorable – of the ancient relics is this boar-shaped bronze wine vessel which is at least 3,000 years old:
Hopefully this is the first of many Chinese museums to put their finest pieces on Google Art Project. But with many museums in China charging stiff admission fees (due to a lack of general tax-funded support), it’s far from guaranteed to happen. Also, Google is far from being the favorite web company of authorities in Beijing.
This time last year, Indonesia’s Museum Nasional made over 100 relics available for global virtual visitors.