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Google Asia Pacific Blog - Lacquer on coffins and cookbooks on parchment: Here are a few of our favorite things from Korea, China, and Hong Kong

The Google Cultural Institute just added collections and exhibits from 19 new museums and cultural institutions from Korea, China, and Hong Kong. This brings the total amount of the Cultural Institute's online works from Asian institutions to a staggering 23,000 pieces, from every genre imaginable: Chinese bronze-age bells, Korean dynastic robes, Hong Kong's neon street signs, and more are all on the Cultural Institute in all their mind-bogglingly diverse array.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces, moving through history from ancient to modern:

A 2,300 year old coffin, skeletons not included
China's Hubei Provincial Museum's collection boasts this incredibly well preserved decorated lacquer coffin from the Eastern Zhou dynasty from 443 BC. You can practically see every bump in the wood grain as you zoom all the way into the gigapixel-resolution image.

Gigapixel images capture 1,000 times the information of a 1 megapixel digital camera, bringing artworks and artifacts alive in high-resolution with extraordinary detail, allowing the viewer to experience the work far beyond what is possible with the naked eye. In this round of launches, we added six gigapixels from Korea, seven from China, and one from Hong Kong.
The Dragon and Phoenix Coffin, Hubei Provincial Museum
Learn Korean cooking...from 340 years ago
Back then as it is today, Korea was known for its cuisine. Eumsikdimibang, or "recipes for tasty food," is Korea's oldest cookbook, written 340 years ago by a noblewoman in the late Joseon Dynasty. You won't find any Korean Fried Chicken here though—this book includes recipes for traditional flour and rice cakes, fermented vegetables, and importantly, how to brew alcoholic beverages. This online exhibition from Korea's Dimibang museum explains the history behind this important historic document, with videos that bring that culture and era to life.
The online exhibition Eumsikdimibang, and the book's author Lady Jang Gye-hang, from Dimibang
Catch the action up closeMany traditional Chinese landscape paintings contained distinct narratives within the details—you might miss them if you don't look closely. In this mid-18th century painting from the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, also rendered in gigapixel resolution, you can see the bewilderment on the locals' faces on sampan boats as they look at the foreign ships encircling the port city of Canton, or modern-day Guangzhou.

This painting is the first gigapixel capture for a Hong Kong museum.
An Unglazed Painting of Canton (Guangzhou), Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Walk in a prince's palace
Many of the museums coming onto the Cultural Institute are themselves architectural marvels, such as the Suzhou Museum in Suzhou, China, opened in 2006 by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, I.M. Pei, also known for designing the Grand Pyramid of the Louvre and the Bank of China building in Hong Kong. Learn more about Pei's reimagining of a former prince's palace from this online exhibition, and take a virtual stroll around the grounds thanks to Museum View technology.
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Admire I.M. Pei's wing of the Suzhou Museum from both inside and out
All of the lights
The vibrant city of Hong Kong truly comes alive at night thanks to its iconic neon signs hanging higgeldy-piggeldy along every street. Sadly many of these signs are being phased out. Two new exhibitions by the West Kowloon Cultural District are preserving and celebrating Hong Kong's neon lights. For a truly immersive experience, jump into one of the 12 Museum View panoramas of Hong Kong's lit-up streets at night.
Take art with you 
The Cultural Institute has built a mobile platform to enable museums to put their exhibits on a mobile app, so that these institutions can easily enhance a visitor's museum experience with audio guides or virtual tours. Partners from Korea and Hong Kong are the first in Asia to launch their mobile apps using the Cultural Institute's platform—you can find them on Google Play.
Mobile apps of the Seokdang Museum of Dong-A University, Korea, and St. James Settlement, Hong Kong
Whether it's learning about Korean cooking from three centuries years ago, or taking a stroll around the grounds of Chinese palaces, we hope you'll expand your horizons with the Google Cultural Institute.

Posted by Amit Sood, Director, Google Cultural Institute

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