Field of Focus III - Funded ProjectsInvisible Networks:

Japanese handscrolls in german collections around 1900 and in a digital future

Project Leader:

Prof. Dr. Melanie Trede (Institute of East Asian Art History)

Funding Line:

Cultural Heritage and History


The Project “Invisible Networks” pursues five goals.

The first goal is to identify and investigate the Japanese narrative handscrolls, which entered German museum collections since the late 19th century, and address them from both an art historical and collection-orientated perspective. Narrative handscrolls represent a medium that diverges significantly from woodblock prints, sword fittings and small objects that were fashionable in a period shaped by the Japonist taste. For this reason, the scrolls represent an alternative entry-point for the investigation of different collecting approaches and negotiations with aethetics of different cultures at the turn of the century.

The second aim is the scholarly examination of a pilot handscroll, the Koyasu Monogatari (Linden-Museum, Stuttgart). The results shall be presented digitally, our third goal, based on the model developed in the FoF3 project “Digital Hachiman Handscrolls”. Aim four is the drafting of a White Paper, which addresses the status quo and digital visibility of Japanese handscrolls in German museum collections, while the preparation for a large application to develop an academically sound, digital presentation of Japanese handscrolls in German collections is our fifth goal.

The project is based on a cooperation between the Institute of East Asian Art History and the Heidelberg Research Architecture (cluster of excellence, "Asia and Europe”), both of Heidelberg University, and the Linden-Museum, Stuttgart.