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Interpreting and semantically describing Chinese traditional brocade: Xilankapu

Xiufeng Cheng (School of Information Management, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China)
Jinqing Yang (School of Information Management, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China)
Ling Jiang (School of Information Management, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China)
Anlei Hu (School of Information Management, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 26 June 2019

Issue publication date: 14 August 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce an interpreting schema and semantic description framework for a collection of images of Xilankapu, a traditional Chinese form of embroidered fabric and brocade artwork.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the authors interpret the artwork of Xilankapu through Gillian Rose’s “four site” theory by presenting how the brocades were made, how the patterns of Xilankapu are classified and the geometrical abstraction of visual images. To further describe the images of this type of brocade, this paper presents semantic descriptions that include objective–non-objective relations and a multi-layered semantic framework. Furthermore, the authors developed corresponding methods for scanning, storage and indexing images for retrieval.

Findings

As exploratory research on describing, preserving and indexing images of Xilankapu in the context of the preservation of cultural heritage, the authors collected 1,000+ images of traditional Xilankapu, classifying and storing some of the images in a database. They developed an index schema that combines concept- and content-based approaches according to the proposed semantic description framework. They found that the framework can describe, store and preserve semantic and non-semantic information of the same image. They relate the findings of this paper to future research directions for the digital preservation of traditional cultural heritages.

Research limitations/implications

The framework has been designed especially for brocade, and it needs to be extended to other types of cultural image.

Originality/value

The semantic description framework can describe connotative semantic information on Xilankapu. It can also assist the later information retrieval work in organizing implicit information about culturally related visual materials.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study is funded by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Number 71503097) and supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Number CCNU18TS039).

Citation

Cheng, X., Yang, J., Jiang, L. and Hu, A. (2019), "Interpreting and semantically describing Chinese traditional brocade: Xilankapu", The Electronic Library, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 474-489. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-09-2018-0193

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited