Hachiman Digital Handscroll

Recently, Heidelberg University in Germany launched a new digital handscroll website. The Hachiman Digital Handscroll site contains seven digitized Japanese handscrolls of Karmic Origins of the Great Hachiman Bodhisattva. The scrolls range in date from 1389 to the Nineteenth Century.

In addition to having a simple, easy-to-use navigation framework, the project includes some interesting features. When viewers move their cursors over the scroll, different areas appear in different colors. These layers, as they’re called, provide annotation and additional information on the element highlighted. The text from the scrolls is available in both English and Japanese and readers can easily toggle between the two. Finally, there is also a “light table” feature allowing viewers to compare a particular scene or script passage from all seven scrolls at one.

This site makes an excellent companion to the Digital Scrolling Paintings Project produced here at the University of Chicago!