The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, known to locals simply as “the Met,” has released more than 300,000 images of artworks and other cultural artifacts in its collection into the public domain, available for unrestricted use. We at Global Voices wrote about it last month.
On February 7, 2017, The Metropolitan Museum of Art implemented a new policy known as Open Access, which makes images of artworks it believes to be in the public domain widely and freely available for unrestricted use, and at no cost, in accordance with the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation.
Anyone can use the artwork for any purpose, as long as they credit the original donors of the artwork, as well as the Met itself.
The Met's collection includes vast amounts of public-domain images of Japanese art. To find exactly what you want, you can search by the name of the artist, such as woodblock print maker Utagawa Hiroshige.
The easiest way to see the collection, however, is to browse according to object type, date, and era.
This “haniwa” sculpture of a warrior in armor dates from about the same time.
The collection contains many treasures, such as this relief dating back 1,300 years to Japan's Asuka Period, when Buddhism was first adopted in the country.
There are examples of sculpture from just about every period in Japanese history. These statues of six of the twelve “heavenly generals” (Jūni shinshō, 十二神将) exemplify the baroque, highly-detailed style typical of Japan's Kamakura Period in the 14th century.
There are also plenty of unique, idiosyncratic pieces in the collection. This is a portable shrine dating from 1620 during Japan's Edo Period. The shrine is intended to transport a statue of a horse-headed (Batō) Kannon.
The collection also includes more recent artwork, including art from Japan's Meiji Period, which roughly coincided with the Victorian Era in the West. The triptych depicts a scene from the Russo-Japanese War.
This cloth-baby carrier is part of the Met's Japanese textiles collection, and dates from the Taisho Era during and following World War One:
The collection includes images of Japanese calligraphy, including this scroll by Seigan Soi, who lived from 1588 to 1661, during the Edo Period.