We have digitized an original work by calligrapher and painter, Fan Zeng (b. 1938), created when he was in Vancouver in 1980. The piece’s dedication is to the “UBC Asian Centre” (which opened in 1981). Fan’s intention was to create the piece as a gift to the Asian Centre to display within the building when it opened. It is a copy of the Tu Fu poem “Gazing at Taishan” and is considered one of Fan’s better works, given his age/maturity as an artist when it was created. The piece is made of Japanese paper with some silk remaining from when it was mounted to its original frame, making it quite fragile.
So how did we digitize this delicate, large, original work?
Because of its large size we used our “Magnetic Wall”, which is basically a wall in our department that has paint with metal embedded inside it so magnets stick, in order to fully display the object.
After much testing with camera and Photoshop settings, we were able to photograph individual sections of the object.
We then used Photoshop to post-process the images and stitch them together to obtain the final digitized copy of the original.
The calligraphy had been mounted and displayed within the Asian Centre lobby, but was recently removed for conservation and preservation. The original now resides in the RBSC vault and a replica will be displayed, as produced from the digitization.