19th Century Firefighters Coat
Copyright Museum of Metropolitan Art

I have to admit to spending quite a lot of time trawling the web for images of period clothing, as these make excellent inspiration for costume making. Although the best sites are usually Museum pages, they are usually pretty dull and uninspiring.

However, I recently visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art webpages, and I was really surprised. Not only have they indexed all their images really well, so it’s very easy to find more images of a particular type of object or period, put they seem to have put real effort into making it anĀ online collection, rather than just a list of objects.

In particular, I was struck by the effort at interpretation made. The image to the left is of an Edo period fire-fighter’s coat, and what really struck me was the incredibly well-written and informative interpretive information included on this piece. One phrase in particular stuck with me:

“The wearing of precious garments while charging into billows of smoke and flames asserts a quintessential Japanese aesthetic sensibility that recognizes beauty in the transience of life.”

How beautifully put! So do go and have a look at the site if you’re interested, their collection is good and their web presence is a good case study of what can be done with collections.

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